Mission Aviation Fellowship

International Aviation Academy – Norwich – is officially open

The building was officially opened by Group Captain Carol Vorderman, Air Cadet Honorary Ambassador and Air Commodore Dawn McAfferty, Commandant of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, at a ceremony at the Academy. Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman of Rigby Group plc and owners of Norwich Airport, also announced their support for the building’s Board Room and Seminar Room.

The opening is the culmination of plans, first unveiled in September 2013, to create an Aviation Academy at the airport to provide a centre of excellence for education and skills training in aviation, delivered in partnership with the region’s employers, education groups and local authorities. The state of the art Aviation Academy, part of the airport’s ambitious expansion plans, is now already training the next generation of aviation engineers with more areas of aviation to follow.


One of the helicopter flight simulators at IAA Norwich


The academy is a joint enterprise between Norse Group and Aviation Skills Partnership. It is supported by a core group of founding partners, including Norfolk County Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norwich City Council, KLM UK Engineering, Norwich Airport, KLM UK Engineering, City College Norwich, University of East Anglia, and Broadland District Council. It is based in a former hangar at the airport site, and is equipped to provide training to 400-500 students at any given time.

The Academy claims to have created the world’s first ‘real world’ learning environment that includes full size aircraft and raises the standards of learning using innovative teaching techniques. It focuses on offering a broad education and skills training in aviation that will attract both local and international students.

A former Jet2 B737 is used for training at the academy, and looked after in accordance with the aircraft’s current maintenance schedule

A former Jet2 B737 is used for training at the academy, and looked after in accordance with the aircraft’s current maintenance schedule

Key skills and training programmes start from age 16 initially include Aviation Engineering, Cabin Crew and Airport Operations with other areas planned. The Engineering delivery is entirely practice-based and incorporates an innovative University of East Anglia/City College Norwich BSc(Hons) work-based degree/degree apprenticeship developed by Aviation Skills Partnership delivered with KLM UK Engineering. The cabin crew and airport training programmes are industry-designed to create work-ready people for local, national and international roles.

Aviation Skills Partnership’s (ASP) Chairman and Chief Executive Simon Witts said: “We are delighted to have led this ground-breaking initiative. My aim in setting up ASP was to transform the approach to training across our six areas of aviation and this new Academy is our first, providing access to industry-designed skills programmes in full partnership with Universities, FE Colleges, Schools, Private Training Providers and Awarding Organisations. I congratulate Norwich and the region on their vision in supporting this project and I am delighted to see the interest from people enrolling onto the courses.”

Author: Adrian Mahovics

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