Boeing launches secondary school qualification

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 by Chris Flynn

Boeing has launched a new qualification for secondary school students called the Boeing Aviation Studies Certificate.

The qualification, which Boeing designed in collaboration with the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), will provide the opportunity for young people studying STEM subjects to receive hands-on training.

The engineering skills will be complimented by careers information on the sector and will be available from September to students aged between 14 and 18 in UK schools.

It builds upon the Boeing and Royal Aeronautical Society’s Schools Build a Plane challenge, which currently involves six UK schools, with a programme that provides up to 40 hours of study. The programme can be altered by schools according to their preference and adapted to suit student interest.

Taster sessions have been trialled at Ercall Wood Technology College in Shropshire where engineers have worked with students to provide them with information on what an engineering career involves.

Project leader at Ercall Wood, Mary Parry-Sargeant, said: “The qualification will act as a compliment to GCSEs. Students can say that, as well as their GCSEs, they also have a Boeing aviation studies certificate. This will help them to differentiate themselves in what is a difficult jobs market”

The certificate will increase students’ awareness of the economic importance of the aerospace sector, with the UK currently second behind the US in terms of aerospace and defence market share.

Industry-involvement in programmes such as this will help to spread knowledge of the sector and manufacturing in general, with schoolchildren at the recent See Inside Manufacturing events saying that teacher’s fail to discuss careers in industry and the type of jobs available with skills in science and maths with them.

President of Boeing UK and Ireland, Sir Roger Bone, said: “We looked at creating a vocational qualification that students could get as a result of having an association with the Build a Plane but we decided that we wanted it to go even wider and offer it on a national scale.”

He added: “We really want students to take advantage of a vocational certificate of this kind.”

There are no targets set in place for the uptake of this qualification, but Boeing hope that there will be a high demand from students and schools.