Bombardier has launched an inaugural 36-month apprenticeship programme with its first cohort of 16 apprentices at its advanced aircraft maintenance engineering course at the company’s London Biggin Hill Service Centre.

The apprenticeship kicked off in March with a combination of virtual classroom and onsite training. It provides apprentices with an agile, in-depth learning environment to achieve their critical EASA part 66 modules (B Licence) Certification as well as a Level 4 City & Guilds Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation. The Centre received a visit from Gillian Keegan, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, Department for Education, last week to meet the apprentices and tour the facility.

The London Biggin Hill Service Centre apprenticeship programme is a collaboration between Bombardier and Seetec, an experienced provider of training and apprenticeships. It is supported by KLM UK Engineering Ltd and the Department for Education. Upon completion of the programme, graduates have an opportunity to earn full-time positions as maintenance technicians at the London Centre, establishing a pipeline of talented, skilled technicians at the facility.

Apprenticeships: “pathway to an exciting aerospace career”

Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Services and Support, and Corporate Strategy, Bombardier said: “Indispensable apprenticeship programmes provide qualified students with an important pathway to an exciting aerospace career – a powerful gateway to exciting, new opportunities. It’s an honour to provide future generations of aircraft technicians with essential training for the next steps in their aircraft maintenance careers.”

He added: “Our world-class London Biggin Hill facility offers these students the best on-the-job training possible in a technologically advanced workplace environment – with the possibility for full-time employment at the facility upon graduation.”

Gillian Keegan, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister at the Department for Education, said: “Apprenticeships play a vital role in helping to rebuild our economy by enhancing workforces, boosting skills and developing talent for the future, as we focus on our recovery from the pandemic and continue to build back better. It is great to see Bombardier’s continued investment in apprenticeships and its their commitment to giving people the chance to train and launch fantastic careers. Bombardier’s innovative new programme presents a brilliant opportunity for first-class training and superb future job prospects. I wish all of those involved the best of luck for their journeys ahead.”

Programme will help sector’s post-Covid rebound

Bombardier has worked closely with Seetec, an employee-owned business group based in the UK and Ireland, to develop its apprenticeship programme. Seetec Outsource is a business division within the group that provides apprenticeships, adult education and wider skills opportunities. It achieves this by providing essential training and support to learners, so that they are armed with the skills to further their career ambitions.

“Seetec is delighted to be working with Bombardier with the support of KLM UK Engineering Ltd to move forward with this new aircraft maintenance apprenticeship programme,” said Neil Bates, Managing Director of Seetec Outsource. “By focusing on a skills-led recovery that develops talented apprentices to become part of the aviation industry’s skilled workforce of the future, more progress can be made to help the sector rebound after navigating a challenging operating environment during the pandemic. The Skills Minister’s visit to Biggin Hill also draws an important focus on the aviation industry’s recovery and the need to invest in science, technology, engineering and maths skills to boost the country’s competitiveness in a post-COVID world.”

KLM UK Engineering team is providing the “B” Licence certificate training portion of the programme via an online learning environment. Bombardier’s London Biggin Hill offers heavy maintenance capabilities on Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft. The site is fully equipped to perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, modifications and avionics installations, as well as paint repair services.

The Centre is currently in the midst of a significant expansion to be completed by 2022, adding enhanced maintenance capabilities to service up to 25 aircraft including the Global 7500 aircraft. The influx of skilled workers from the apprenticeship programme will ensure the site is well positioned for growth in the next several years.

Pictured: apprentice Joshua Cadwallader with Gillian Keegan

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