The eight learners, who have all trained at Hartlepool College, began their apprenticeships with engineering giants Babcock this month where they will learn about servicing and maintaining aircraft.
Hartlepool College is renowned for its engineering training and apprenticeships, working with a number of high profile companies in the region including Darchem Engineering, Gestamp Tallent, and Caterpillar.
The students, who are all hoping to complete an advanced apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering have been offered 24-month apprenticeships with Babcock having already completed two years of advanced technical training at Hartlepool College which included regular work experience with Babcock.
Nick Earl, Babcock Operations Director, said: “As a business we are delighted to have our apprenticeship scheme back up and running. It is essential to our business that we develop our own young aircraft engineers and Hartlepool College has brought us some excellent candidates through”.
“These apprentices will get fantastic on-the-job training and be able to immerse themselves in the culture of our business and that of our Customer, the RAF; we are very pleased to have them on-board.”
Group Captain David Cooper, Station Commander at RAF Linton on Ouse, said: “The apprentices will learn everything, from turn-arounds which is the servicing and refuelling of the aircraft to, Depth maintenance, which is basically stripping down and rebuilding an aircraft”.
“We have had an excellent relationship with Babcock for many years and to see them working with Hartlepool College to invest in the next generation of engineers is very exciting”.
Two apprentices will be based at RAF Leeming working with 100 Squadron’s Hawk Aircraft, while at RAF Linton on Ouse, two students will be working on the Grob Aircraft and four on the Tucano aircraft.
Terry Tucker, Head of Aircraft Maintenance at 100 Squadron RAF Leeming, said: “It’s so important to be taking in apprentices with the potential future skills-gap we face. We rely heavily on ex-military personnel to fill these roles currently, but as the availability of these service-leavers reduces and with the introduction of increasingly stringent new regulations from the MAA (Military Aviation Authority) we need capable young people to be trained in these new protocols to filter through and fill these positions”.
The apprentices were welcomed to RAF Linton on Ouse by Group Captain David Cooper and Babcock Operations Director Nick Earl, along with senior executives from Babcock.
Darren Hankey, Principal of Hartlepool College said: “The relationship between Babcock and the College has been built on mutual respect, trust and admiration”.
“We have some exceptional engineering students with strong work ethics, tenacity and the ability to achieve great things.
“We have a reputation amongst the big engineering companies as the College to go to not only for very capable apprentices but also for training the existing staff in all areas that improve efficiencies in business”.