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Norwich International Aviation Academy moves towards take-off

465415_360908833970442_439175141_oLocal, national and international aspiring aviation students and people seeking a new career in aviation are one-step closer to realising their dream after an update to key stakeholders at Norwich International Airport recently.

The plan, unveiled in September 2013, is to create an Aviation Academy at the Airport to provide an internationally recognised centre of excellence for education and skills training in aviation, delivered in partnership with the region’s employers, education groups and local authorities. The new state of the art Aviation Academy compliments the airport’s drive to become a leading location for aviation support services in Europe through the development of the Norwich Aeropark maintenance and aviation services cluster. The Academy plans to open its doors in September 2016 although ‘feeder’ programmes are due to start as early as September 2014 and details will be released shortly on how to enrol on these.

The academy is supported by a core group of founding partners, including KLM UK Engineering, Norwich International Airport, Aviation Skills Partnership, City College Norwich, University of East Anglia, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and Broadland District Council. It will be based at the airport, and will be equipped to provide diverse training to 200-300 students at any given time.

The Academy aims to create a ‘real world’ learning environment that includes full size aircraft, and to raise the standards of learning using innovative teaching techniques. It will focus on offering a broad education and skills training in aviation that will attract both local and international students. Key skills and training programmes starting from age 16 will initially include Aviation Engineering, Cabin Crew and Airport Operations with other areas planned. The Engineering delivery will be entirely work-based and will incorporate an innovative University of East Anglia/City College Norwich BSc (Hons) work-based degree/higher apprenticeship developed by Aviation Skills Partnership. The cabin crew and airport training programmes are industry-designed to create workready people for local, national and international roles.

Andrew Bell, Chief Executive of Norwich International Airport, said: “Fundamentally, the Norwich International Aviation Academy addresses two key issues. Firstly, it will help underpin the existing demands for diverse skills at Norwich Airport, a demand which is already increasing as we develop the Aeropark and other activities on the airfield. Without the right available skills, the Airport’s development will be stymied. Secondly, it will project a very clear message beyond the region, both across the UK and internationally, that Norfolk is intent on becoming a centre of excellence for aviation. The Academy demonstrates that we are taking the initiative in helping to solve the well documented global skills deficit across a range of aviation activities. The Academy will enable local students to go global in their career ambitions, and will attract students into the region from the UK market and overseas.”