The first 16 new aircraft maintenance technicians have graduated from BAE Systems’ 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. After gaining their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), the graduates will join the BAE Systems team working hand-in-hand with the RAF in supporting the RAF’s fast-jets.
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 said: “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 Academy currently has two further cohorts, with a total of 32 students in progress. 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.
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.”