‘It’s genuinely a world first and it’s in Norwich’ - Work starts on new £12m aviation academy

The 'start of build' ceremony for the new International Aviation Academy at Norwich Airport involves

The 'start of build' ceremony for the new International Aviation Academy at Norwich Airport involves the part demolition of an old hangar. Photo: Simon Finlay

Norfolk's new £12m aviation academy was hailed an international leader, as work formally began on the centre designed to train the next generation of aircraft engineers.

The 'start of build' ceremony for the new International Aviation Academy at Norwich Airport involves

The 'start of build' ceremony for the new International Aviation Academy at Norwich Airport involves the part demolition of an old hangar. Photo: Simon Finlay

Future students were in the crowd as business leaders gathered to see demolition work taking place at a hangar at Norwich Airport, which will eventually become home to up to 500 students aged 16 to 21.

Simon Witts, chief executive of the Aviation Skills Partnership, said: 'It's a state-of-the-art, world-class training facility – it's genuinely a world first and it's in Norwich.'

Once complete, the academy will include 20 classrooms, five engineering workshops and a complete live Airbus 320 aircraft for students to hone their talents.

Attleborough student Harry Moore, 19, will start studying this September but only move into the academy when it is ready in autumn 2017. He said: 'It seems a good course to do – you get an honours degree and experience too, so you can hopefully be ready for a job at the end.'

Artists impression of Norwich Aviation Academy

Artists impression of Norwich Aviation Academy - Credit: Archant


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The project has been developed by Norfolk County Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norse Group, KLM UK Engineering, City College Norwich and the University of East Anglia.

Chris Starkie, managing director of the New Anglia LEP, said the key was providing an industry-led response to a recognised skills gaps.

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'It gives our young people the job opportunities that right now they can only dream of,' he said.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: 'This puts Norwich on the map. This is what makes opportunities for our young people come about.

'Companies will be coming from across the country and across the world to take advantage of those opportunities.

'People ask 'Why would you have this academy in Norwich?' The answer to that question is 'Why not have it in Norwich?''

Do you have a business story? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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