Although Not Just Crew didn't set out with the intention of becoming a major crew support hub, it quickly adapted to fill that role. Within a few weeks it was assisting crews worried about lockdown, and caching Covid-19 and helping them prep for interviews (something some of the crew hadn’t experienced for twenty plus years), and in many cases help them gain employment.
Rewind to March. Trevor Jenkins was planing his first live broadcast over a free version of Zoom. This had come about after he enrolled on a free podcasting course set up by former colleague Alex Chisnall. They were going to interview Simon Costello, an NHS clinical care assistant, and ex cabin crew member. The idea was that the interview would bring contemporary up to date news, as to what was really going happening on the Covid front line from the point of view of someone serving on it, rather than the confusing messages that were coming out at that time.
This interview seemed to be really popular, especially on the replays. After the show, many kind messages of thanks were received. Trevor now had material for his first podcast, which he subsequently published on iTunes and Spotify.
The following week all three of them interviewed Matt Dockray, also ex cabin crew and survivor of Covid-19. He became national headlines after he put out a Facebook post from his hospital bed.
As the lockdown continued, redundancies were being announced daily by airlines. This is where the NJC call to action really came about. “We had the feeling that although redundancies were being talked about on a practical side, no one seems to be talking about the emotional consequences of redundancy”.
As both Alex and Simon had both been made redundant in 2009, now seemed the right time to interview them about their life after flying. You see, with crew, they are so used to working as a team, that when events like this happen, they can feel quite alone at home when these things are announced, and away from their colleagues. Not Just Crew was the perfect platform for crew to voice their concerns, genuine worries, and an action plan to reinforce the message that they were “Not Just Crew”, and they had so many other skills and qualities to offer.
To prove this point over the following weeks, we interviewed many ex crew who went on to do amazing things after they left their flying careers. Some of these amazing crew went on to become guest presenters.
Membership of the Not Just Crew Facebook group seem to grow by hundreds a day, having now reaching presently 6.2k members coming from many different airlines and countries.
In fact, on the day the group reached a membership of 5k, a Facebook memory from five years earlier popped up saying that Trevor had bumped into Alex at a Virgin Start-up event. There they discussed what amazing skills crew had, and would be the perfect candidates for business start ups.
Once the redundancies started to happen, we started to present workshops on interview techniques, how to write a CV, and how to have a Linkedin profile. For these we would bring in ex crew, who had excelled in these fields.
As the group grew, we found that crew were posting jobs they had seen that may be of interest to other crew. We turned this into a regular feature, with Simon posting job announcements that were sent in from members on the Facebook page.
The many testimonials sent in by members now cover the facebook pages. I’m sure Not Just Crew had the pleasure of helping at least five hundred members find, not only a new job, but a new career, many now training with the NHS.
Not Just Crew next turned its attention to crew who wanted to start their own business. Both Alex and Trevor had already run their own businesses, and both knew that crew are more than capable, even if some of them didn't believe in their own abilities, a thought process we knew we could change.
On our Monday live shows we started to interview other crew who had started their own companies, some after they had stopped flying, other while they still were. There seemed to be quite appetite for these talks, so Alex started presenting a Wednesday Not Just Crew Start-up show. The content of these shows ranged from company formation, gaining the right finance, marketing and branding.
Many of these new crew companies will feature at Not Just Crew’s latest project. The “2020 Virtual Crew Christmas Market”. A showcase in which crew can sell their wares, whether they are new to business or if they are dipping their toe for the first time. As this may be new to them, we have been able to provide of their branding and help them market their business if need be. We have also provided the use of card processing for them, as this can usually take a while to set up, and card sales are a must for online sales in this strangest of years.
To help prepare crew for this. We once again have been presenting tutorials on how to photograph your products, write copy, and even how to ship your products internationally.
We’re hoping to make this a regular feature, and even continue an online shop, where we can provide the platform, and they can concentrate on building their business.
Looking forward, Not Just Crew is already working on some very exciting project that will hopefully make 2021 a less stressful year for both former and current cabin crew. What we continue to see it is the camaraderie of crew helping with their experiences to take others forward.