BBGA calls for more trailblazer apprenticeships

posted on 9th October 2019 by Eddie Saunders
BBGA calls for more trailblazer apprenticeships

“A successful pathway to a world of future aviation opportunities lies in a revitalisation of apprenticeships.” a newly released manifesto from the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) highlighted today.   

Kick-starting a campaign to encourage STEM for the new generation, BBGA is today calling on government and the private sector to come together and create more successful initiatives such as that pioneered by Stansted Airport College, which has just enrolled 429 full-time trainees and 52 apprentices in its second year.

BBGA plans to work with the UK CAA to leverage its approach and steer a path toward innovative training for a global industry – to equip aviation’s workforce with skills on the ground, as well as in the air.

Representing over 180 UK business and general aviation companies, in a variety of disciplines, BBGA highlighted at a special Tomorrow’s Workforce event, that its first priority is to align with Aviation Strategy 2050 and quantify what the UK workforce needs over the next 30 years.

Creating apprenticeships in a range of aviation services is the goal. It is also seeking development of all streams including flight operations, ground operations and airworthiness, mindful that business aviation per se does not feature in any syllabuses.

The urgent requirement for more commercial pilots is well known, but other roles in the less recognised ‘aviation services’ – in aircraft maintenance, ATC, ground and flight operations, are deteriorating as the UK faces a demographic cliff edge as the baby boomers retire.

With support from the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) under its Expanding Horizons initiative, which aims in part to attract and engage the next generation of business aviation professionals, BBGA advocates dedicated aviation centres of excellence up and down the country. These would offer City and Guilds Level 2, 3, 4 and 5 on aviation services pathways where trainees would receive high quality training inhouse with assured work placements when ready. 

“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.” stated Paul Maynard MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT.

“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 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,” highlighted Marc Bailey, CEO of BBGA.

“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,” said Frederique Luca, Senior Communications Manager of EBAA. 

Stansted Airport College, opened in September 2018 in a joint venture with Harlow College, is the first purpose built further education college at a major UK airport. It will see a further 138 graduate in June 2020 after 40 graduated in 2019.

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

After a successful first year, with an average pass rate of 97%, college graduates have secured permanent jobs with apprenticeships at FlightWorx, Manchester Airport Group, 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.   

“This year we have already received over 450 applications for future places,” says Karen Spencer, Principal.  

“The college is nearly at capacity and will only have approximately 150 spaces next year.  This partnership, developed with London Stansted Airport, is already making a difference to the future of aviation training and meaningful careers for young people

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.