New training academy to be built at Humberside Airport

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A new £5m BAE Systems National training academy is to be built at Humberside Airport. It will provide up to 60 apprentice opportunities every year resulting in over 150 new jobs over three years.

Senior officials will turn the first sod to mark the start of work, on Friday 24 October at Humberside Airport’s first ever BAE Systems graduation event, where around 70 people will be presented with awards. There will be a special ‘Spitfire’ fly-past.

This exciting development is a joint venture between British multinational defence organisation BAE Systems, Humberside Airport, Resource Group’s Aviation Technical Training Division and North Lincolnshire Council.

The National Academy, set to be supported through the Regional Growth Fund, will become the UK’s central hub for BAE Systems to train apprentices for the maintenance and servicing of UK fighter jets and to support International Export contracts. Modelled on Resource Group’s existing state-of-the-art training facilities, the new Academy will incorporate a hanger, training aircraft, classrooms and practical training workshops. Resource Group will be providing a totally managed service including assets, facilities, training and accommodation.

BAE Systems will take on up to four cohorts of 15 apprentices (60 in total) each year, on a two-year apprenticeship, who will be trained to NVQ level three. It is planned to include one cohort directly from the Humber University Technical College (UTC). They will follow a 24 month programme split between academic modules and on-the-job practical training usually at RAF Coningsby (Typhoon), RAF Marham (Tornado) or RAF Valley (Hawk).

Once qualified, they will become part of the BaE Systems team, working alongside the RAF in supporting the fast-jet fleets at RAF Conningsby and RAF Marham. The trainees are mobile and flexible and could transfer to bases abroad to support International Export programmes.

The Training Academy will be named the ‘R J Mitchell Aircraft Maintenance Academy’, after Reginald Mitchell, who started his successful career as an apprentice in Nottingham. He went on to become a British aeronautical engineer, designing around 24 aircraft, including the famous World War 2 fighter – Supermarine Spitfire, arguably the predecessor of today’s fast jets.

The graduation ceremony is a major event. Hosted by BAE Systems, the Aircraft Maintenance and Support Awards will recognise and reward apprentices and professional and executive staff who have attained academic achievements. BAE Systems will also recognise individuals who have excelled in their performance in their particular discipline. Various trophies, certificates and special awards will be handed out at the event, including apprentice of the year, functional awards, and technician of the year.

From 1 December 2014, apprentices will be based at a temporary base at the Airport. The new Academy will be completed by October 2015. Hull based company, Gro Houlton Construction, will build the new Academy.

The Training Academy will further support growth at the Airport. This includes expansion of the existing Nightel Hotel to accommodate the apprentices. And just last week, North Lincolnshire Council gave the go-ahead for a new £7m 100-bed luxury hotel to be built at the Airport, creating around 60 new jobs – demonstrating further major investment at the Airport.

For details about how to apply for the apprenticeships, visit www.baesystems.com/careers-rzz/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships.

Councillor Liz Refern, Leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “This exciting development will help raise the profile of engineering as a career path for young people and provide fantastic opportunities. Work on the new Humber University Technical College (UTC) is well underway and will also specialise in engineering, so the two projects will complement each other. It is great news that the new Training Academy will provide Humber UTC students with apprenticeship opportunities. Together with expansion plans at the Airport with the new luxury hotel, this is the perfect location for the Training Academy. It will further reinforce our belief that North Lincolnshire is a great place to invest and learn. I am delighted the council can play an important role in the increasing demand in the engineering sector and in attracting more people to the area.”

Martin Blaze, Director of Aircraft Maintenance and Support, BAE Systems, said: “We are really looking forward to working with our partners on this exciting project. The need for BAE Systems to establish a capability to support our Armed Forces has never been greater as we export our products in line with Government policy and are committed to supporting the products and the nations who buy them, as our allies. This Academy gives us the opportunity to develop the individuals to the highest level of competence to ensure safe operations. We also anticipate that BAE Systems personnel from places such as Saudi Arabia and Oman will also come to this facility to be trained to then return to work in country, which will be a huge feather in the cap of all concerned.”

Ian Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, Resource Group’s Training Solutions Division, said: “Resource Group is delighted to provide this turnkey solution for our client. Building on the highly successful existing five year business relationship that has seen us design and implement a full career progression programme for over 200 aircraft maintainers, based on European Aviation Safety Agency best practice. The new Academy will provide an outstanding environment in which to learn and will set the benchmark for excellence in aviation technical training.”

Paul Litten, Commercial Director at Humberside Airport, said: “This prestigious development further underlines the importance of the airport to the region and will give a much needed boost to the growing requirement for aviation engineers. As one of the UK’s largest helicopter bases, providing services for the growing gas industry in the Southern North Sea and the impending start up for off shore wind operations, we are very excited to have this new facility based at the airport. The opportunities for training and development that this will provide to young people from across the area cannot be underestimated.”