A new on-site training programme at Bournemouth Airport welcomed its first intake of apprentice aircraft maintenance engineers in October, with 12 young people from local schools and businesses beginning their training with specialist provider Resource Group. The youngest apprentice is just 17 years old.
The programme is the culmination of many years of work by BCP Council and a group of local employers – Signature TECHNICAir; Cobham Aviation Services; Gama Aviation and Jets (Bournemouth) Ltd – who are also key partners in the council’s efforts to promote engineering locally, such as through the regular ‘Careers in Engineering’ event hosted by aerospace firm Curtis Wright.
It will also contribute to a longer-term goal of creating an International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI) at Bournemouth Airport, a facility designed to meet the wider needs of the aerospace industry that could have significant benefits to the local economy.
Other council initiatives in place to support local engineering firms include regular online events providing guidance and/or introducing local firms to one another, a skills-matching service that helps businesses find jobs for workers in the face of redundancy, and the promotion of technology and engineering subjects in local education settings.
Attending the launch in October prior to lockdown, Councillor Phillip Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning for BCP Council, said:
“Whilst many sectors face a difficult period over the winter due to the global pandemic, it is hugely exciting that our local aviation industry is really ‘taking off’, with a number firms based in our area continuing to expand and plan for the future.
“As a council, expanding our innovative, successful economy and providing opportunities for young people to grow is a priority for us. This is a great example of how our cooperative approach can lead to fantastic results.
“Congratulations to all the new apprentices and I wish them the best of luck as they spread their wings and set a course on their exciting new career path.”
John Hamshere, Sales and Customer Support Manager at Signature TECHNICAir, added:
“We are delighted to welcome these brilliant young people to the industry. Demand for aviation skills is likely to overtake supply by 2027 and programmes like these will make all the difference in securing the future of aviation within our local area.”
It is hoped that the apprenticeship scheme will become a permanent fixture at Bournemouth Airport.