An apprenticeship programme has kicked off at Bombardier’s service centre at London Biggin Hill in the UK. An initial cohort of 16 male and female maintenance apprentices began the 36-month programme in March 2021.
The programme features a combination of virtual classroom and on-site training designed to provide an agile, in-depth learning environment where apprentices can achieve their critical EASA part 66 modules (B Licence) certification as well as a Level 4 City & Guilds diploma in aerospace and aviation. Upon completion of the programme, graduates have an opportunity to earn full-time positions as maintenance technicians at the service centre.
“Indispensable apprenticeship programmes provide qualified students with an important pathway to an exciting aerospace career – a powerful gateway to exciting, new opportunities,” said Jean-Christophe Gallagher, executive vice president of services and support, and corporate strategy, at Bombardier. “It’s an honour to provide future generations of aircraft technicians with essential training for the next steps in their aircraft maintenance careers. Our world-class London Biggin Hill facility offers these students the best on-the-job training possible in a technologically advanced workplace environment – with the possibility for full-time employment at the facility upon graduation.”
Bombardier is collaborating with Seetec for the programme. It is supported by KLM UK Engineering and the UK’s Department for Education. Gillian Keegan, skills and apprenticeships minister at the Department for Education, visited the facility on 13 May 2021 to interact with apprentices and tour the site.
“Apprenticeships play a vital role in helping to rebuild our economy by enhancing workforces, boosting skills and developing talent for the future, as we focus on our recovery from the pandemic and continue to build back better,” said Keegan. “It is great to see Bombardier’s continued investment in apprenticeships and its their commitment to giving people the chance to train and launch fantastic careers. Bombardier’s innovative new programme presents a brilliant opportunity for first-class training and superb future job prospects. I wish all of those involved the best of luck for their journeys ahead.”
“By focusing on a skills-led recovery that develops talented apprentices to become part of the aviation industry’s skilled workforce of the future, more progress can be made to help the sector rebound after navigating a challenging operating environment during the pandemic,” said Neil Bates, managing director of Seetec Outsource.
KLM UK Engineering team is providing the B Licence certificate training portion of the programme via its online virtual learning environment (VLE) and instructor-led sessions.
“Our VLE allows the apprentices to study anytime, anywhere, while benefiting from the experience of our qualified instructors,” said Chris Tubby, sales manager for technical training at KLM UK Engineering. “We currently support over 1,000 students around the world who are studying on our VLE, with exam centres in Malaysia, Dubai and China to help support them to start their engineering career. KLM UK Engineering, part of the Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance network, has a 40-year history of developing apprentices for its own heavy maintenance facility in Norwich, maintaining Embraer 170/190 and Boeing 737 family aircraft, and is proud to continue to support the next generation of engineers entering the aviation sector.”
Established in 2017, Bombardier’s London Biggin Hill service centre caters to Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft, offering scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, modifications and avionics installations, as well as paint repair services.
The facility is undergoing expansion, to be completed by 2022, adding enhanced maintenance capabilities to service up to 25 aircraft, including the Global 7500. Bombardier said the apprenticeship programme will provide an influx of skilled workers, ensuring the site is well-positioned for growth over the next few years.