Schoolchildren gaining practical experience of the workplace will no longer be permitted to manage the traffic at busy airports, following a number of recent safety concerns.
At the age of fourteen or fifteen, most Year 10 pupils are seconded to a local business or retail outlet to gain practical experience of office life before making further education or career choices. However a number of pupils who did their work experience at Heathrow Airport have been judged to be insufficiently attentive or mature to be left in charge of busy air traffic lanes.
Fifteen year old ‘Degsy’ O’Rourke from Hayes Technical College spent a week on the computers at Heathrow. ‘You had to get these little planes on the screen onto this like narrow strip? It’s not as good as Grand Theft Auto, cos you only get one life’ Another Hayes pupil was sent home after he made two planes on the screen bump into one another ‘to see what would happen’. ‘The acoustics on these computers is like, amazing,’ said Johnny Finch, 14. ‘I got them to crash on the screen but it sounded like the big explosion was right outside the window!’
‘They were only supposed to be making the coffee and doing a bit of photocopying’ said Bill Hendry the headteacher who organised the Heathrow work experience allocations. ‘Unfortunately a small minority of irresponsible pupils thought it would be amusing to get out of doing PE for the rest of term by crashing a jumbo jet into the school gymnasium.’
However, the pupils deny that they were to blame for crashing any planes. ‘How could I’ said Degsy. ‘I wasn’t even on the air traffic programme most of the time. Whenever I got bored I just switched the computer to MSN and chatted to my friends who were supposed to be working at the international currency markets.’