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A new apprenticeship for commercial airline pilots is being developed by a specialist sub-group of the Aviation Industry Skills Board. When ready, it could increase opportunities to train as a pilot.

The commercial airline pilot standard, approved for development by the Department for Education, is also supported by other leading aviation employers, including Monarch Group, British Airways and FlyBe, and has the backing of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), the Honourable Company of Air Pilots and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Stuart Gruber, Director of Flight Operations at Thomson Airways and pictured above with popstar Alesha, said, “We’re really proud to lead on an industry first to develop the pilot apprenticeship standard.

“As a pilot myself, I’m really passionate about what an exciting opportunity this apprenticeship represents to those looking to join the aviation industry. It means that becoming a pilot will be a more accessible career option for many, and provide a platform to diversify the profession.

“At Thomson Airways we’re really excited about what this apprenticeship could mean to our current employees as well as anyone looking to join our company, as we’re dedicated to giving employees the chance to learn and grow in their roles.”

The Aviation Industry Skills Group, chaired by Monarch Group and supported by People 1st, has four apprenticeship standards: Airside Operator, Aviation Ground Specialist, Aviation Operations Supervisor and Aviation Operations Manager.

The expression of interest to develop an apprenticeship standard for commercial airline pilot was submitted by Aviation Industry Skills Group to the Department of Education in October 2016. The Department of Education gave formal approval to develop the standard in February 2017.

Employers committed to the development of the standard include Thomson Airways, Monarch Group, British Airways, Logan Air, FlyBe, Thomas Cook Airlines, BMI Regional, Virgin Atlantic, Eastern Airways and DHL.