“The talent challenge has been a regular encounter over the last three years,” says Gatwick Airport CIO Michael Ibbitson, who is set to leave the airport in January for a new role in the Middle East. Over the last three years there has been a wealth of discussion about rebalancing the UK’s workforce to ensure it has enough technologists in it for the economy to become competitive. In a CIO UK interview, Ibbitson explained how he and his organisation have taken practical steps to enable the organisation to secure the talent it needs.

West Sussex based Gatwick Airport has formed a partnership with Brighton University, the coastal University that’s on the same rail line as the airport.

“Brighton University is a very good and it’s aligning the courses around the demand subjects such as data analytics,” the CIO said. But Ibbitson isn’t only working on making the arrival of new talent easier. To ensure he doesn’t suffer departures from his organisation, the CIO and the senior management of Gatwick Airport have been working on making the lives of its employees easier.

“We need to work on things like the train tickets as the train fares are so high. If you work shifts, a season ticket is not the best deal, so we are working with the rail franchise operator to the airport at the moment,” he says of trying to ensure staff can get to the airport for a reasonable fee. A yearly ticket from London to the region currently costs well of £2000 a year.

“We asked our recruiters to look outside of aviation. The aviation industry has got a bit stale,” he said. “All of my direct reports, but one, are from outside of aviation. We’ve been lucky and it is still hard to attract people and we have had to bring people in from the overseas too.”