AVIATION CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE EVENT

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The British Business and General Aviation Association and European Business Aviation Association were delighted to welcome a range of participants from government, education and industry to our 9 October event, “Aviation Centres of Excellence – Developing Tomorrow’s workforce for a global community”.

During the event Europe’s business aviation industry – led by the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) together with the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) – called on the UK government and private sector to come together and create skills centres to address workforce challenges and gender balance in aviation.

The business aviation sector is advocating to create more successful initiatives such as that pioneered by Stansted Airport College in the United Kingdom, which has just enrolled 429 full-time aviation trainees and 52 apprentices in its second year.

A Call for Centres of Excellence

Under the business aviation industry’s Expanding Horizons initiative, which aims in part to attract and engage the next generation of aviation professionals, BBGA and EBAA advocate the revitalisation of apprenticeships and the development of dedicated aviation centres of excellence. These would offer aviation services pathways where trainees would receive high quality training inhouse with assured work placements when ready.

Speaking at the event, Paul Maynard, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said: “We have the largest aviation network in Europe, and with 435 million passengers set to travel through UK airports by 2050, we need the brightest minds from all backgrounds to support and strengthen this industry.”

Marc Bailey, BBGA CEO, added: “With business aviation accounting for 7% of that traffic, linking city pairs not connected by scheduled airline, it is vital that aviation moves together to keep up with that demand. We desperately, as an industry, need more technicians, engineers, air traffic controllers, ground handlers, as well as pilots to secure tomorrow’s workforce too. It is a fact of life that young people are increasingly facing tempting offers from other industries, including the tech sector. The solution, we are championing, lies in practical and immersive training, hand-in-hand with industry – as successfully demonstrated at Stansted Airport College.”

Frederique Luca, EBAA Senior Communications Manager, also underlined: “The aviation industry is falling behind because we are not doing enough to make our sector more attractive to a diverse talent pool – from all areas of the social spectrum. We need to create new centres of excellence to train a much needed workforce.”

The requirement for more commercial pilots is well known, but other roles in the less recognised ‘aviation services’ – in aircraft maintenance, Air Traffic Control, ground and flight operations – are deteriorating as European countries face a demographic cliff edge as baby boomers retire.

Stansted Airport College – a case study

Stansted Airport College, opened in September 2018, in a joint venture with Harlow College, is the first purpose built further education college at a UK airport. It will see 138 trainees graduate in June 2020.

Its curriculum offers pre-apprentice, apprenticeship and full-time programmes, plus work-transition courses in a range of subjects including aircraft engineering, maintenance, cabin crew, hospitality and event management.

After a successful first year, with an average pass rate of 97%, college graduates have secured permanent jobs at FlightWorx, Marshall Aerospace, Jet2, Ryanair, Kearsley Airways, GT Engines, Harrods Aviation, British Airways and AIM Composites.

This year it is delivering apprenticeship training for Ryanair, Tui, Harrods Aviation, Avalon Aero, Titan Airways, Inflite, CRS Technics, IMT Aviation, Sky Smart ACS Aviation, GT Engines, Storm Aviation and Kearsley Airways.

Women in aviation boost

Following on from its ‘Go on Girl’ campaign, Stansted College has successfully recruited 12 females onto its engineering programmes, equating to 8% engineering trainees, a 5% increase on the previous year. A total 60% of trainees on its Aviation Operations programme are female. With 138 trainees graduating in June 2020, Stansted College will have approximately 150 spaces next year. This year, says Karen Spencer, Principal, the college has received over 450 applications.