Newquay aeronautical engineering apprentices: an ESF project
How European Social Fund support helped young apprentices get globally recognised industry qualifications.
|ESF funding||ESF Convergence and Skills Funding Agency|
|ESF target group||Young people|
The first group of aeronautical engineering apprentices to be trained in conjunction with Newquay Cornwall Airport have graduated after a 2-year programme. They all now work with aviation maintenance companies in Cornwall and elsewhere in the UK and Europe.
Resource Group provided the training, working with its aviation maintenance training division LRTT Ltd at their engineering training centre at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire.
The core apprenticeship was funded through the SEMTA National Apprenticeship Agreement with the Skills Funding Agency with additional support from ESF Convergence. The total ESF funding was £164,000 which included the travel and accommodation costs for the participants’ stay at the Cotswolds Airport training centre.
Globally recognised industry qualifications
LRTT is an approved maintenance training organisation and their young apprentices have received globally recognised industry qualifications. After the 2-year programme, the apprentices completed an advanced apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering and are now qualified to certify maintenance tasks on commercial aircraft.
The apprenticeship programme started with 23 days’ on site training at Newquay Cornwall Airport. The remainder of the 8 months training took place at LRTT’s purpose-built, state of the art training centre at Cotswold Airport. This was followed by 16 months’ vocational work experience coordinated by Resource Group.
Resource Group has worked with large aircraft maintenance organisations across Europe for the past 20 years and is well positioned to support Newquay Cornwall Airport in the placement of apprentices within these maintenance organisations.
The young people were recruited through an open event at Kingsley Village, Cornwall at which Resource Group and LRTT explained their apprenticeship scheme. Those interested were invited to submit their CVs and successful candidates were selected from a shortlist following interviews and a series of tests.
The best form of training
One of the qualified apprentices, Peter Jardine, is employed by Resource Group and works at British International Helicopters, based at Newquay Cornwall Airport. He said:
An apprenticeship in aircraft engineering will be hard work but the rewards of a career that you enjoy will be worth it. I wanted an apprenticeship as it is the best form of training in that you learn whilst you work, gain qualifications and get paid to do so.
Compared to school friends I think that my career has progressed equally as well as those who are self-employed and those who have graduate level jobs.
Mirelle Bourne also works for British International Helicopters at Newquay Cornwall Airport. She added:
Aircraft engineering is a very interesting, worthwhile career and an apprenticeship is a fantastic way to get into the industry. This was particularly attractive because it offered a comprehensive introduction to the industry with no previous knowledge or experience required.
My career has been accelerated by this apprenticeship and given me a good start in the industry, and it has been done a in a shorter space of time than attending university, and still giving me scope to progress and enhance my career in the future in many ways.
The next generation of engineers
Mark Yeoman, Head of ESF Convergence Communication, said:
This project, aided by ESF Convergence investment, shows the value of apprenticeships – top quality training guided by real business needs, with great employment and career development opportunities. And the successful partnership between the international firm LRTT and NfET shows the true power of collaborative working.
Newquay for Excellence Training (NFET) provided the link between LRTT Ltd and ESF Convergence. Gill Moore, Director, said:
We were delighted to have played a part in bringing together the expertise and funding, in order to offer this fantastic opportunity to local young people. With the ongoing Aero Hub developments at Newquay Cornwall Airport, we hope that other organisations will follow our lead and recognise that strong partnerships have mutual benefits, but more importantly they can really change lives.
Ian Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of LRTT said:
I’m very pleased to announce another highly capable group of individuals have completed our apprenticeship scheme and will become the next generation of engineers to bolster the industry’s workforce. The government’s drive towards apprenticeship schemes means young people are choosing to train with LRTT rather than attending costly university courses. We’re proud to offer a recognisable alternative and I wish all of these recent graduates the very best in their new careers.
Richard Thomasson, Airport Operations Manager, Newquay Cornwall Airport, said:
We’re delighted to have been part of this project further enhancing the wider benefits of the Aerohub by giving the platform for Cornwall’s future generation to work within the aerospace sector. We’re delighted to note the achievements of the apprentices and wish them the very best for the future.
Read more about the European Social Fund 2007 to 2013