Telford College is working with RAF Cosford to ensure its aviation students can experience all the latest innovations in aerospace technology.
The college’s level two and three aviation courses are the only ones of their kind in the area, and attract students from across the West Midlands, as well as into Wales.
Enrolment is now under way for the new intake in September – with the added bonus of being able to go behind the scenes at RAF Cosford as an integral part of the study programme.
Robert Lees, the college’s director of engineering and aviation, said: “We’ve all seen the headlines in recent weeks about staff shortages in the aviation industry – and that means big opportunities for our students.
“Thanks to the relationship which Telford College has developed with the team at RAF Cosford, our aviation students get incredible access to their facilities, to see first-hand what it’s like to work on real aircraft.
“They also get to spend time in Cosford’s supersonic wind turbine, and learn their trade on the GenFly training rig which replicates the hydraulic systems and landing gear of front-line aircraft.”
It is estimated that, across Europe alone, more than 130,000 new technicians will be needed between now and the year 2037 to work on the maintenance of aircraft.
Graduates from Telford College’s aviation courses have already gone on to a wide range of different roles, from engineering apprenticeships to careers with well-known airlines such as Ryanair.
Robert said: “People sometimes think aviation is a niche sector to be in, and that you have to live near an airport, but for every aircraft that is flying, there are hundreds of support companies that need to be properly staffed, to keep them in the air.
“So although this kind of qualification will certainly allow you to work in an airport, that’s just a small part of it – it will also give you a road into a much wider aviation industry support network.”
He added: “It is the perfect course for people who like working with their hands and working outdoors, because especially in the early years they will be flightline mechanics.
“We have the benefit of fantastic virtual and augmented reality facilities here at Telford College which can simulate many engineering scenarios – but there is no real substitute for getting your hands dirty, and working on real aircraft.
“The close bond and the links we are developing with the RAF is something that nobody else can offer. It’s the thing which really sets us apart.”
For details about Telford College’s aviation courses, and other engineering-related programmes, see www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/join-us/our-courses/full-time/
Image 1. Behind the scenes – Telford College aviation students get the chance to learn at RAF Cosford
2. Robert Lees had a 20-plus year career with the RAF, including six years as an instructor at RAF Cosford