Generation Aviation

Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund 2023

CLOSED. Application Deadline: 12pm on 29th September 2023

“Innovation propels aviation and for it to face up to tomorrow’s challenges it needs an open and diverse workforce that can bring fresh ideas and ways of working. 

“Our Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund recipients will be key to that, inspiring the next generation into the sector and helping to build an aviation workforce fit for the future.”                                                                             

Transport Secretary Mark Harper

About the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund 2023

After a popular first year, the Reach for the Sky Challenge fund returns in 2023.

Organisations can apply for a share of £750,000 to support outreach projects that will contribute to the Generation Aviation programme. Application Deadline is 12pm on 29th September 2023. Please read the Guidance document and Clarification questions carefully before submitting your application via the online form, found below.

We are looking for outstanding outreach projects that can meet the following three objectives:

  1. Inspire the next generation of aviation professionals, championing the opportunities available in the sector. Activities should focus on developing interest and engagement with the opportunities available in aviation. This might also involve supporting someone to develop skills or experience that could be useful for a career in aviation, but should not replace formal education i.e. delivery of statutory licences or educational qualifications. 
  2. Reach individuals who would not otherwise be aware of opportunities available within the aviation sector. We would encourage applicants to consider how their project might benefit under-represented groups (i.e. women and girls, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, lower socio-economic backgrounds).
  3. Have a broad impact by reaching and engaging multiple people. This might be achieved through some form of mass participation event, delivery through an education setting or youth group, or via virtual methods that can reach a mass audience.

As with last year, the funding competition will continue to be jointly administered by the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund is an important part of the Department for Transport outreach work, carried out under the Generation Aviation campaign – a joint project between HM Government and industry that aims to raise the profile of aviation careers and remove barriers to access, so the sector can build a workforce fit for the future.

Clarification Questions

Please see below responses to questions submitted within the clarification window. Please also read the guidance document.

Would teaching resources to help upskill teachers and careers advisers and reach mass audiences in education be eligible?  

The guidance document outlines the objectives and eligibility criteria for applicants. If you can demonstrate your project meets the objectives and your organisation can meet the criteria, we’d encourage you to apply.

Would the development of VR resources to bring aviation to life be eligible? 

As above. 

Can Exempt Charities apply?  

Exempt Charities may apply. Crucially, the project proposed must run on a not-for-profit basis. 

Can projects use rocketry?  


Is it ok for the funding to be used to provide opportunities to undergraduates as well as school children?   

There is no age limit for who funding can be provided to. As long as you can demonstrate that your project meets the objectives and your organisation can meet the criteria as set out in the guidance document, we’d encourage you to apply.   

Is it ok that this is an extension and enhancement of an existing project rather than an entirely new initiative?    

Yes, extension and enhancement of current projects is eligible for funding. However, to prevent double funding, this should be for a distinct aspect of your current project.   

Are we able to support young people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales with this outreach? 

Projects must be focussed mainly on England, with the possibility of delivering across the UK. As long as your project is focussed mainly in England, then it is allowable for it support young people in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as well. 

When is the funding cycle? 

Funding will be provided from January 2024 – January 2025.   

Are there suggested limits/amounts on each level as to what the maximum or expected grant size is?  

We cannot provide suggested limits, as the amount you request should be proportionate to your project and ambition. We do not score your application based on the amount you apply for but we will score your application according to Annex B of the guidance document.   

Does this include projects that are focused on UAS/Drone operations and aviation? 

Yes, Generation Aviation’s objectives and criteria support skills development across the aviation sector including UAS/Drone operations 

Can Higher Education Institutions apply? 

Yes. Crucially, the project proposed must run on a not-for-profit basis. 

Can a Commercial organisation apply? 

As above.

Can tables and/or graphics be included in the application? 

No. There are table templates to be completed as part of the application form – these can be seen in the guidance document.  

Can the application focus on Scotland? 

No. Projects must be focussed mainly on England, with the possibility of delivering across the UK.  

Successful Applicants 2023

In 2023, ten non-profit organisations were selected, with the cash going to fund outreach programmes and events to show the next generation of aviation leaders what opportunities the sector can offer. The recipients were:

  • Big Ideas Community Interest Group
  • Cambridge Science Centre
  • Flight Crowd
  • Education and Employers Taskforce
  • Harlow College
  • Leicester Education and Business Company
  • London City Airport
  • The Air League
  • TEC Women CIC
  • University of Leeds