The Aviation Industry Skills Board (AISB) has launched the UK’s first ever industry-led First Officer pilot apprenticeships scheme, providing aspiring pilots with a financially supported route to a First Officer position with a UK airline.
The AISB sub-group which developed the apprenticeship framework was made up of UK airline representatives from British Airways, Flybe, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and TUI UK, which chaired the group.
Using funding from the Apprenticeship Levy, a new tax instigated in 2017 which requires large businesses to pay a 0.5% of their payroll total into an apprenticeship fund, the new scheme draws from this fund to pay up to £27,000 towards a First Officer training programme, which is then topped up to the required amount by the sponsoring airline, which will also pay the cadet an apprenticeship-rated salary.
Sandra Kelly, UK Skills & Policy Director at People 1st International said: “We’re delighted that the first officer pilot apprenticeship standard has been approved for delivery.
“Having supported the Aviation Industry Skills Board in developing the standard, we look forward to welcoming a more diverse talent pool, supporting accessible careers and enabling social mobility with a standard that offers clear progression routes into higher level positions in this diverse sector.”
Apprenticeship group chair Captain Stuart Gruber, Director of Flight Operations, TUI Airways, added: “It’s fantastic news that the standard for the pilot apprenticeship scheme has been approved.
“We’ve been really proud to lead on the development of this industry-first scheme and we’ll now move to working on the necessary next steps to get the recruitment process live. As a pilot myself, I’m really passionate about what an exciting opportunity this apprenticeship represents to those looking to join the aviation industry.
“It means that becoming a pilot will be a more accessible career option for many, and provide a platform to diversify the profession.”
A full report on the new apprenticeship scheme, including its projected roll-out, will be published in the March edition of Flight Training News.