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'The sky's the limit,' aviation experts tell students

PUBLISHED: 11:18 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 09 May 2019

Stephen Davies, degree apprenticeship development officer, City College, Norwich and Flight Lieutenant Robina Austin. Pic: Archant.

Stephen Davies, degree apprenticeship development officer, City College, Norwich and Flight Lieutenant Robina Austin. Pic: Archant.

Aviation experts gave Norwich college students hopes of a high-flying job ranging from painting planes to flying them.

The TUI plane with the Haribo bear on the tail, created by a Norwich firm. Pic: Tui.The TUI plane with the Haribo bear on the tail, created by a Norwich firm. Pic: Tui.

About 200 students from Norwich City College were given a first-hand insight into all kinds of jobs relating to flying from local businesses, many based at the city's airport.

The college works in conjunction with the Norwich Aviation Academy, the first of its kind in the world, based at Norwich Airport. Students can partake in its engineering degree courses, but many don't consider a number of other careers associated with the aviation industry.

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One of the businesses, Satys Air Livery, based at Norwich Airport, gave an inspiring talk on how young people were needed to go into this industry, which literally paints logos and images onto planes. From the orange Easyjet logo to bespoke work, which once included re-creating a massive Haribo sweet bear for holiday airline Tui, it all happens in a hangar at Norwich airport.

Last October the Norwich firm was acquired by French group Satys meaning the company now has offices across the UK as well as one in Bratislava and paints over 200 long and short haul aircraft, with a forecasted £17m turnover for 2018-19 with 170 employees. Among the staff was a graphic designer who himself started on an apprenticeship.

Ray Parsons, CEO of Premier Flight Training, also based at Norwich Airport, said it was hoped a degree course in pilot training could be offered and added grants were available to help students finance the courses to become a pilot, which can cost up to £100,000.

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Flight Lieutenant Robina Austin, who is an aviation lecturer, said more women needed to go into the industry. She worked as an engineer after being inspired by her pilot father as a child. "I remember thinking how can an engine do that and I just wanted to fix aircrafts."

The event was organised in conjuction with 'neaco', the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach programme which aims to help youngsters with little or no experience of higher education explore the possibility of going to university. Hannah Dunlop, higher education adviser, said: "It's been incredible to see students who came along thinking 'why am I here' be inspired by jobs they would never have known or thought about."

The event is part of a schedule coordinated by Stephen Davies, degree apprenticeship development officer at City College, whose aim is to match employers with students who then may be considered for apprecticeships or work placements. "I'm so grateful to all the employers who took part," he added.

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