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CAA backs apprenticeships for pilots

The creation of an apprenticeship scheme to train future commercial pilots has been welcomed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The new Higher Apprenticeship, which will be developed by City & Guilds, will lead to a Commercial Pilot’s Licence. It is one of several new vocational schemes announced today by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable. According to a BBC report, some 4,230 placements in various industries will be funded in the second round of the £25m higher apprenticeships initiative. The scheme plans to include commercial pilot apprenticeships following the estimation that between now and 2030, EU airlines will need to recruit 92,500 pilots.

Higher Apprenticeships allow people to pursue high level qualifications and are key to tackling personnel shortages in specific sectors. The aviation industry is expected to see shortfalls in qualified commercial pilots over the coming decades and several UK airlines, including British Airways, have expressed an interest in signing up to the Higher Apprenticeship programme.

Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, said, “The launch of a Higher Apprenticeship in the commercial aviation sector is a very welcome initiative. We desperately need to encourage young people into the industry to ensure we have enough trained individuals to meet the future needs of UK airlines.”

Meanwhile, Simon Witts, Director of City & Guilds for Business said, “City & Guilds is delighted to have secured funding for this industry-leading higher apprenticeship. Further developing the current training structure is a priority and that’s why our employer-focused arm, City & Guilds for Business is developing the apprenticeship in conjunction with the CAA, as well as other industry experts and employers”.

The CAA said it had worked closely with City & Guilds, Sector Skills Council and industry, to support the work to develop the Commercial Pilot Higher Apprenticeship. The regulator said it will be monitoring the progress of the first group of apprentices and eagerly awaited the first qualified commercial pilot through the scheme.