Doncaster, UK – The first 16 new aircraft maintenance technicians have graduated with flying colours from BAE Systems’ dedicated training academy in Doncaster where up to 500 aircraft maintenance technicians are to be trained over the next five years.
Having completed their eight-month basic training and achieved a City and Guilds qualification at the academy based at Robin Hood Airport, the students will now move to an RAF base for a further 12 months of training, when, after gaining their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), they will then be part of the BAE Systems team working hand-in-hand with the RAF in supporting the RAF’s fast-jets.
Martin Blaze, Aircraft Maintenance Director, BAE Systems said: “In 2009 BAE Systems has been awarded contracts relating to aircraft maintenance and support worth nearly £1bn and this has potential to grow even more in the future. The academy will help provide appropriately skilled personnel to deliver those contracts.”
The students will be employed on RAF bases where BAE Systems supports the RAF’s fast jet fleets. These include RAF Marham and RAF Cottesmore, home to Tornado and Harrier respectively; and RAF Coningsby, home to the RAF’s latest front line jet, the Typhoon.
Alan Collier, UK Industry Training Manager, BAE Systems added: “This programme is an innovative and unique solution to a challenge facing both BAE Systems and the RAF. There is a shortage of aircraft maintenance technicians nationally, and the establishment of this academy will help meet that challenge.
“The people who progress through the academy and go to work on an RAF base will be an integral part of the team ensuring the men and women of the RAF can do their job.”
Rt Hon Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, who was on hand to present the trainees with their certificates, said: “It was a pleasure to meet the graduates of the BAE Systems academy today. To have a giant of global aviation manufacturing here in Doncaster training apprentices is a tremendous vote of confidence in the facilities at Robin Hood Airport. The skills their graduates have earned today will stand them in good stead for the rest of their careers.”
The Academy currently has two further cohorts, with a total of 32 students, in progress and over the next five years BAE Systems are aiming to train up to 500 apprentices via this academy and a parallel programme with colleges close to the RAF bases. A further two cohorts are scheduled to start at the Academy in early 2010.
The current trainees are training to be mechanical or avionic/electrical technicians. The trainees come from all backgrounds including car mechanics, the Royal Navy and as well as direct from college.