Pioneering aviation academy to be opened at RAF Marham

PUBLISHED: 13:53 07 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 07 June 2018

Wing Commander John Butcher is greeted on his arrival at RAF Marham as the F-35 touches down on Norfolk soil. Picture: Ian Burt

Wing Commander John Butcher is greeted on his arrival at RAF Marham as the F-35 touches down on Norfolk soil. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

The body behind an aviation academy in Norwich has revealed plans to open another at RAF Marham.

The arrival of the F-35 B Lightning stealth aircraft at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtThe arrival of the F-35 B Lightning stealth aircraft at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Aviation Skills Partnership (ASP) runs the world-first International Aviation Academy in Norwich and has announced it will develop a new site at the west Norfolk airbase.

On Wednesday, the site became home to the F35 Lightning II, the new tactical combat aircraft for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

MORE: Body behind Norwich’s aviation academy says collaboration will be key in training sector’s future talent

The organisation has already announced plans to build similar academies at RAF Syerston, near Newark, and RAF Cosford, in Shropshire.

Under the RAF100 Inspire legacy - marking the institution’s 100th birthday - ASP has worked with partners in the east, including the New Anglia LEP and west Norfolk council to enable young people to meet the growing demand globally for aviation skills.

Speaking at RAF Marham when the first Lightning aircraft arrived, Sir Chris Harper, ASP strategy board member, said: “I am immensely proud that, on this iconic day, we are able to announce our plans to bring an Academy to this historic RAF base. As a nation, we need to respond to the massive demand for aviation specialists: Pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers and logisticians.

“Through ASP’s work with its partners, the youth in the area and indeed across the country can now look forward to new career opportunities in this fascinating high-tech area.

MORE: Carol Vorderman speaks of joy as International Aviation Academy opens in Norwich

“The east region is leading the way, having already opened the very successful academy at Norwich, and we are delighted to be embarking on this new enterprise at Marham in the centenary year for the RAF.”

The ASP was formed in 2013 to identify, create and develop skills needed in the aviation industry. It focuses on six main areas - piloting, air traffic control, airport operations, operations and crewing, cabin crew and engineering and maintenance.

The £12m site in Norwich is housed in a former Second World War Hangar at Norwich Airport, after three years of work to make it a reality.

It has 20 classrooms, five engineering workshops and a complete live Airbus 320.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia LEP, said: “Developing an Aviation Academy at RAF Marham is a hugely exciting opportunity, for our economy and the next generation of workers in west Norfolk.

“The LEP was heavily involved in the funding and delivery of the international Aviation Academy in Norwich, which is now providing skilled workers and an economic boost to the civil aviation supply chain.

“While still in the early stages of development, an academy at Marham can do the same in the military sphere – giving local people the opportunity to work within the supply chain for the RAF’s largest airbase and on the world’s most advanced aircraft technology.”

MORE: World’s most advanced warplanes touch down at new home in RAF Marham

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