The first group of easyJet pilots on the first BSc (Hons) Professional Aviation Pilot Practice degree supported by an airline have graduated at Middlesex University.
This unique degree course - designed specifically for pilots - was launched in 2013 in a partnership between airline pilot training and simulation organisation L3 Commercial Training Solutions (L3, formerly CTC Aviation), Middlesex University and easyJet.
The seven graduating pilots - Anna McGrady, Steven Hadley, Matthew Archer, George Baker, James Rose, Reece Montagu and Jack Shaw are the very first in the country to graduate on the degree programme and have all started flying professionally for easyJet.
The BSc (Hons) degree in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice (PAPP) is awarded by Middlesex University and run through the Institute of Work-based Learning. This time-efficient degree does not require cadets to attend a university campus and enables them to gain two professional qualifications (airline transport pilot licence and degree) within three years.
The first two years of the course are completed at L3’s Airline Academy, through training on an airline pilot career programme alongside parallel, practice-based university work. Study continues beyond their initial airline pilot training once they join easyJet, flying as a co-pilot while completing their third and final year of the degree, allowing them to learn while they earn.
Training to become a pilot while completing the degree can also provide aspiring pilots access to student loans to help finance their studies.
Brian Tyrrell, easyJet's Head of Flight Operations says the course has been a great success so far.
“We have been delighted to work in partnership with L3 Commercial Training Solutions and Middlesex University to offer this degree course for our pilots which builds on the easyJet cadet programme that offers a clear career path for all pilots joining easyJet.
"All our pilots will be flying on a modern fleet of aircraft, with industry leading punctuality, high quality training and an unrivalled European network and those joining easyJet can be confident of a long and successful career."
Anna McGrady - one of the graduating pilots - feels the course was a great opportunity.
''I am thrilled to be graduating alongside my colleagues today on the BSc (Hons) in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice," she says.
"This course has given me the opportunity to undertake a degree alongside my commercial pilot training.
"The degree is designed in a way that fits very well into the flight training schedule.It has taught me to be a reflective practitioner, continually assessing how I can improve my performance."
Mick Betts, Director of Aviation Programmes at Middlesex University, believes the partnership has been a huge success.
“We are delighted to see the first group of students on this innovative new degree about to graduate," he said.
"They have been a pleasure to work with throughout and their achievements on this work-based degree are a testimony to the quality of the training they receive at L3’s Airline Academy, at work in their first year at easyJet and in their academic work with Middlesex.
"Our degree partnership with L3 Commercial Training Solutions has worked extremely well and with over 130 students now on the programme this group will be the first of many professional pilots to graduate on this joint programme.”
Find out more about aviation courses available at Middlesex