Aviation academy issues aim to encourage youngsters into the industry

Work starts on the new Aviation Academy. Founder and chief executive Simon Witts.Picture: ANTONY KEL

Work starts on the new Aviation Academy. Founder and chief executive Simon Witts.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A drive to build the aviation workforce of the future will see schools, councils and businesses join forces to inspire young people to consider a career in the industry.

The aim, set by the new Aviation Academy at Norwich International Airport, is to gain worldwide recognition for the region as a training ground for work-ready pilots, engineers and cabin crew.

Simon Witts, chief executive of the Aviation Skills Partnership, also wants to ensure every child from the age of eight is equipped with the right skills to embark on a career in the industry.

'We want to have an activity plan that gets everyone talking about aviation,' said Mr Witts, who added he wanted to build a network of ambassadors for the academy across the region.

Work on the £12m structure on the grounds of the city's airport began in April and, once complete, will house 20 classrooms, five engineering workshops and a complete live Airbus 320 aircraft.

The first students – a class of 20 to 40 – will be enrolled in September, and taught elsewhere before moving to the airport when building is complete.

At its peak, 500 16 to 21-year-olds will study at the site.

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But key to building a steady stream of students is ensuring parents, teachers, and young people are aware of the options available to them.

The first stage of this plan has seen the Aviation Skills Partnership open its first regional office in north Norfolk last week, which will eventually move onto the academy site next April once work is complete.

Amy Helm, head of partnerships and networks at the Aviation Skills Partnership, said: 'We have planned to launch regional centres to support our expanding activities and partnerships and feel that this is the perfect time to establish our regional presence here.

'We intend that, through establishing a local base, we will be more accessible across the region and be able to provide a focus for our growing activities leading to the opening of our first aviation skills hub here.'

Are you working with schools to encourage youngsters into business? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk