October 8, 2008

Air Academy Taking Flight


BUDDING pilots and cabin crew staff from the North East can give their careers a flying start, as an aviation academy takes off in our region.

Newcastle College's School of Applied Science opened its doors this week to the recently completed pounds 3.2m expansion of the Newcastle Aviation Academy.

Built by construction company Morgan Ashurst, the academy aims to enable students to reach for the sky by providing them with world- class training, qualifications and facilities.

The academy includes engineering workshops, a large aircraft hanger, a BAE Jetstream 31 aircraft and a fully-functional Boeing 737 aircraft on site.

Cabin crew students are also based at the academy, which is next to Newcastle Airport, to gain hands-on training in an aircraft environment.

The expansion plans to create a regional facility and one-stop shop for aviation training, as well as the next generation of skilled engineers for the aviation industry.

Even before the expansion, the academy had proven to be a great success, with 93% of graduates finding employment in the aviation industry.

Students from the academy have been awarded prestigious International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading scholarships in recognition of the programme delivered.

Andrew Pitkeithly, a secondyear National Diploma student studying aerospace engineering, said: "The facilities are fantastic.

"Having studied at The Rye Hill Campus last year, where the facilities are very good, coming into a brand-new purpose built aerospace academy is more than we could have hoped for and will greatly increase my employment opportunities."

Graeme Bell, manager at Newcastle College Aviation Academy, said: "The building is a great achievement for the college and the students are thriving in this environment.

"We have built a world-class facility, which will be beneficial for the aviation industry both in the UK and internationally."

Partners One NorthEast provided pounds 1.69m for the expansion via the TyneWear Partnership. It was also funded by the Learning and Skills Council and Newcastle College.

David Smailes, Morgan Ashurst's area manager, added: "We are delighted to have completed these exciting new facilities for Newcastle College.

"As the work was carried out in an airside location, we have worked closely with both the college and the airport to ensure the minimum of disruption to their day-to-day activities."

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