Middlesex University has joined forces with the aviation industry to offer a unique higher apprenticeship which will allow future pilots to gain their professional pilots licence alongside a full university degree.
The apprenticeship is a first for the aviation industry and will give professional status to trainee airline pilots through an innovative skills framework that can open up access to Government student grant and loan support for the first time, removing barriers to people who have the talent to succeed but find the significant financial cost of training a major barrier.
Middlesex has worked with the Aviation Skills Partnership who brought together professional flight training organisations and employers in the sector to create the ‘Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice’. Key partners in the scheme include Semta, People1st, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators, the British Business and General Aviation Association and the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC).
Practical elements of the scheme will be delivered by the airlines and flight training organisations, with accreditation of this training and further university modules implemented by work based learning experts at Middlesex University. This will allow pilots to gain professional competence, graduate status and a pilot’s licence which meets UK Civil Aviation Authority requirements.
Dr Darryll Bravenboer from Middlesex University’s Institute for Work Based Learning explained: “Higher level professional apprenticeships have a crucial role to play in ensuring the UK has the skilled workforce it needs and when education and industry work together we can provide people with both professional status and a university qualification. Aiming for the best of both worlds is an enticing prospect for talented people looking to get a head start in a professional career.”
Simon Witts, CEO of the Aviation Skills Partnership said: “I am over the moon that we have been able to launch this Apprenticeship after a huge amount of hard work and determination by the small group that have pulled this all together, for the first time. What is now on offer to airlines and potential recruits is one of the most attractive routes to train to be a pilot, with students being able to gain access to a fully recognised educational framework also opening up full university-level loan and grant support. This means that the barriers to entry for the people who have the right skills and passion have been reduced, opening up access and creating more opportunities to equalise some of the diversity gaps in the industry. I am very proud to see it come to fruition and pay tribute to the many people who have worked to create it.”
The first students are expected to enrol on the scheme from July 2013 and discussions are underway which could see similar pathways developed for other aviation careers such as air traffic control.
Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, and Chairman of the HAPAPP Programme Board said: “This apprenticeship programme will greatly benefit the aviation industry in both the long and short term. Airlines will be able to draw upon a new generation of talent to fill future flight decks, while a broader recruitment pool will add a diversity of background and experience to their operations, which can only be a positive. The CAA is proud to have been part of the initiative behind this scheme and looks forward to issuing licences to the first graduates.
Photo: Professor Jonathan Garnet, Director of Middlesex University’s Institute for Work Based Learning (right) is joined by Simon Witts, Managing Director of the Aviation Skills Partnership (left) to finalise details of the apprenticeship.