Gemma Humphris – Employee Forum Chair

Ascent is proud of its Employee Forum, which enables greater engagement between our senior managers and staff and has helped introduce several initiatives to the business that come directly from our teams. Here Gemma, who Chairs the Forum, shares her thoughts about working for Ascent and the importance of the Employee Forum.

Hi, I’m Gemma. After graduating from University of Huddersfield, I went to the airfield ‘up the road’ to get a part-time job in the restaurant while I worked out what I was going to do. The next thing I knew, I was working in Ops, manning the radio, scheduling flights, running social media, stocking the shop and more. This led to a slight obsession with aircraft and flying.

A couple of years later, I joined the Business Graduate Scheme at Aviation, Babcock. One of my placements involved the introduction of P6 into Ascent and when I came to the end of the scheme, at the start of COVID, I found myself taking a job to document processes for Operations at Ascent.

What attracted you to work at Ascent?

Ascent appealed to me partly because of its size. As a smaller organisation it is much easier to get to know everyone and everyone I meet is kind and helpful and wants to do a great job. I’ve also found the company to be highly receptive to suggestions and willing to improve, which is refreshing.

What does your role at Ascent entail?

I currently work as the Fixed Wing and Fast Jet Training Quality Lead. This means I get to interact with the trainees and collect their feedback on the courses we deliver. I then use this, alongside their grades and staff feedback, to suggest improvements to the UKMFTS partnership. It is so rewarding to see the work I do leading to tangible improvements for staff and trainees, helping us deliver a world class training system.

What do you enjoy most about working at Ascent?

I love my team at Ascent. We work closely together but also have a laugh, they make it a nice place to be. I also get to meet a whole variety of different people who I learn so much from. The fact that I can be their voice and implement change for them is what makes me tick! Seeing the trainees develop as they go through their courses and become fully fledged aircrew is also extremely rewarding.

Why did you want to get involved with the Employee Forum?

As you’ve probably seen from the above, I love helping people and making things better and the Employee Forum is the prime place to do that. We have a committee who are keen to help their fellow employees and a Leadership Team who want us to hold them accountable.

Why is the Forum an important part of Ascent’s culture?

The Employee Forum is the key link between employees and the Leadership Team. It allows any employee to make suggestions and for it to be heard by our senior management. It also enables the Leadership Team to gain the opinion of their employees when investigating new projects and ways of working. Our annual People Survey is now being run by the Employee Forum and provides the business with the ultimate review of how employees are feeling about the business and how it can be made better. We have also helped initiate both EV car and cycle to work schemes, which have helped our people travel more sustainably.

As Chair, what do you hope to achieve?

This year, I really want to focus on two things. Firstly, raising the profile of the Employee Forum so that it is seen as a trusted place for all employees to go. I want everyone to know that they can make a suggestion and it will be taken seriously, and when achievable, will be put in place. Secondly, I would like to focus on our ‘One Ascent Team’ value, helping everyone across the company feel as if they are part of the business, and understand how the whole business works together to meet its aims.