Aviation Minister Visits Students and Apprentices at the Flybe Training Academy

Exeter College news article

Date: Friday 16 November 2018

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg today visited Flybe’s Exeter HQ which, as part of her fact-finding tour of the South West, served to highlight the importance of aviation and connectivity for the South West’s regional economy and the role Flybe plays in the national transport infrastructure.

During her visit the Minister met Exeter College engineering students and apprentices at the Flybe Training Academy and spoke to some of the home-grown engineers that had recently graduated and who are working with Flybe. She also saw first-hand the intensive ground and simulator training that its new pilots undergo at the Training Academy.

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg, said: “It has been fantastic meeting some of the talented apprenticeship engineers today at Flybe’s Training Academy in Exeter.

“The UK aviation sector faces a number of challenges to ensure it has the skills it needs so I am delighted to see the investment Flybe is making to help young people in the South West to pursue these roles.

“And we want to encourage even more young people to start a rewarding and creative career in science, technology, engineering and maths through our Year of Engineering Programme.”

Flybe’s well established and globally recognised Training Academy has a key role in training the pilots and engineers of the future, a key role needed to address the skills’ shortage that is evident within the ever-growing global aviation sector.

Ms Ourmières-Widener added: “We are honoured to have had the opportunity to show the Aviation Minister what Flybe is all about and to showcase the excellent local partnership we have established with Exeter College. Flybe’s economic impact cannot be underestimated both in terms of job creation, skills’ training and providing business and leisure travellers the opportunity to connect seamlessly with all parts of the UK, and internationally via Manchester and Heathrow hubs to destinations worldwide. 

“There is no doubt that, through the training we offer especially for those with aspirations to become aviation engineers and in attracting new pilots into the workforce, Flybe has a key role in supporting the future growth of the UK commercial aviation industry from right here in the South West.” 

Flybe’s long-standing pioneering partnership with its local education partner, Exeter College, delivers a unique Engineering Diploma which, when launched in 2007, was the country’s only four-year programme in Aerospace Engineering with EASA Part 147 Approval, combining the necessary academic qualifications alongside practical hands-on experience. 

This jointly run Diploma programme has gone from strength to strength and, to date, some 176 students have graduated all going on to immediate fulltime employment throughout the aerospace industry, including with Flybe itself in Exeter. To date this includes 12 female engineers, and this representation is expected to increase with the airline’s positive steps to address gender imbalance in the aviation industry evident through its recently announced FlyShe programme. 

Exeter College Principal, John Laramy, said: “Our long-standing partnership with Flybe is not only award winning, it's growing and most importantly it has a positive impact on both young people and productivity in the region.  Each year around 30 highly qualified Aeronautical Engineers emerge from the programme. They are work-ready and employable - evidenced by a 100% employment rate for the last three years. 

“The growth is further evidenced by the addition of a specialised course that gives young people in Devon access to training as a member of cabin crew, by using industry standard equipment in the setting of a real airport. 

“We believe our successful partnership with Flybe is an exemplar of a college and industry working together to make a difference.”


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