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Seven-point move to boost aviation skill sets is unveiled in parliament

09:51 19 January 2016

Artists impression of Norwich Aviation Academy

Artists impression of Norwich Aviation Academy

Archant

A seven-point plan to turn young aeroplane enthusiasts into the aviation workforce of the future has been launched in parliament.

Norfolk business and political leaders were among a host of guests from across the country looking at how skills could be improved as plans for the first international aviation academy in Norfolk are developed.

Manifesto measures including creating partnerships and organising awards which policy makers and business leaders hope will go some way to address a skills shortage in the aviation industry.

Leaders were told that there is strong growth in both the civil and defence aviation industries, and the UK was number one in Europe and number two in the world in the industry.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who is sponsoring the House of Commons event, said the country’s first International Aviation Academy, which will be built at Norwich International Airport, would contribute to the future economy of the whole region. “It will provide excellent opportunities for local young people and for the firms who seek their talent,” she said

Simon Witts, founder and chief executive of the Aviation Skills Partnership, set up to tackle the skills shortage, added: “I have long held the view that the UK needs to re-establish its place as one of the world’s leading providers of skilled people to feed the growth in the industry.

“We have a long and proud aviation and aerospace heritage and we are recognised the world over for the standard, quality and content of our training.”

He said the manifesto would build on the work which had already been done since the partnership was formed in 2013. “We have a unique position as a nation on which to build this – and so we shall,” he added.

The International Aviation Academy in Norwich is due to open this year. The project has been backed by a number of local organisations including New Anglia, Norfolk County Council, KLM Engineering, Norwich International Airport and City College Norwich.

Ms Smith said it was “incredibly exciting” for young people in the local area to have the opportunity.

“It is nationally and internationally notably and I’m really proud of it,” she added.

She said the parliament event would make sure that the whole of the UK was behind the Norfolk project. “It’s really clear locally that important firms, such as KLM and many others,operating in Norwich and Norfolk need top-quality talent and good training for those young people.”

Have you got a business story for the EDP? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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