BAE Systems has opened a brand new £15.6m training academy in Lancashire, marking the single largest investment in skills for the UK’s aerospace sector.
The BAE Systems Academy for Skills & Knowledge (ASK) is in size and situated on the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone alongside BAE Systems’ military aircraft advanced manufacturing centre.
It will reportedly train all the apprentices and graduates in the company’s military aircraft business, as well as providing life-long learning and skills development activities for 13,000 employees for at least the next four decades.
It is hoped that the ASK will also act as a collaborative skills-hub for the North West’s engineering and manufacturing sector and offer an exciting learning education centre for school children, aged 5 – 14.
With 26 contemporary classroom facilities, the ASK has been designed and built from scratch over three years – utilising the knowledge and experience of BAE Systems’ training staff to provide the very best modern learning environment.
It mirrors the latest advanced manufacturing technologies and factory layouts used at BAE Systems, including robotics; 3D printers; a virtual reality ‘cave’; a composites clean room; electronics, and welding facilities.
In early 2017, the Academy will also accommodate a Hawk jet trainer for apprentices to understand the engineering complexity and build of an aircraft at first hand.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy commented: “Our Enterprise Zones across the North have already attracted nearly 9,000 skilled workers and BAE Systems has become the latest world-class company to get on board with our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse.
“Northern businesses have established themselves in the top flight of the aerospace industry and the new flagship Academy for Skills and Knowledge will offer excellent opportunities to our young people from the area.”
Managing director of BAE Systems Military Air & Information, Chris Boardman, added: “The Academy for Skills & Knowledge is the single biggest investment in skills in the aerospace industry and offers an unrivalled modern engineering and manufacturing environment in which BAE Systems can deliver the highest quality training.
“We are committed to playing our part in developing skills for the future, for our business, those in our supply chain and in education. In our experience, well trained people are both socially mobile and very productive which in turn generates economic wealth for the UK.”