Commercial pilot flight training organisation FTEJerez, based at Jerez de La Frontera in the southwest of Spain, has announced its first fully funded ATPL Scholarship, representing an extremely rare opportunity in the commercial pilot training sector.
Through the initiative, the academy will sponsor the full price of an Airline First Officer Programme (FTE’s integrated ATPL course) for two successful candidates, valued at €119,500.00 each.
FTE’s ATPL Scholarship is open to EU and UK nationals who are available to commence their training in 2022. The selection of candidates will follow a similar format to that of an airline cadet programme, the school advises, with the awards based on academic merits and performance throughout the selection process. In addition, FTE will also take the candidate’s family income into account, as one of the main objectives of this scholarship is to support candidates to achieve their dream of becoming an airline pilot, regardless of their financial background.
The ATPL Scholarship was launched on 29 November 2021 and applications will be accepted up until 31 December 2021.
The scholarship is designed to cover 100% of the fees of FTE’s Airline First Officer Programme. This includes not only the course fees, but also full-board accommodation on the FTE Campus, all training materials, uniform, iPad (electronic flight book), renewal of the Class 1 medical and all landing, navigation and examination fees. Successful candidates will only have to pay for their personal expenses and their travel to Jerez to commence training.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first fully funded ATPL scholarship in Europe for over 10 years. The last full ATPL scholarship programme ceased in 2011 and no replacements have since appeared. Named the JN Somers scholarship it was generously instigated by Mrs Somers in memory of her husband the late JN ‘Nat’ Somers, who was a Test Pilot and a member of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) from 1946. The scholarship ran from 2000 to 2011, providing in excess of £750k of funding to students and was widely recognised by industry as one of the most prestigious flying scholarships in the world and as such winners were virtually guaranteed airline employment on graduation.
According to Clive Elton, past Guild Master and member of GAPAN’s scholarships selection panel (now renamed as the Honourable Company of Air Pilots), who administered the scholarships on behalf of Mrs Somers, only five scholarships were originally intended to run, but Mrs Somers proved a stalwart supporter of the initiative and ended up doubling the number of awards. It is perhaps fitting, in light of FTE’s generous new initiative, that GAPAN, which selected which schools the scholarship winners would train at, chose FTE more times than any other Approved Training Organisation to deliver the programmes.
Commenting on his school’s new ATPL scholarship, Oscar Sordo, FTEJerez CEO, said: “We are very excited to offer this opportunity to two motivated and deserving candidates, regardless of the ability to secure funding for their training.
“We also consider the scholarship as a fantastic landmark: Aviation is finally recovering following the pandemic and we are once again welcoming airline partners on campus seeking to recruit our graduates. In a way, this scholarship is a celebration of the industry returning to normality and of FTE’s leading position in the global aviation training arena”.
To be eligible for the FTE ATPL scholarship, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Minimum of 18 years old at the date of applying.
- Hold an EU or UK passport.
- Have completed high school studies (A-Levels, Abitur, Baccalaureat, Bachillerato, IB, Leaving Certs., Maturità, etc.). Predicted grades will not be considered.
- Be fluent in English, with at least an ICAO level 4 or a B2.
- Be in good health and able to achieve the standard required for the EASA Class 1 medical examination.
- Have a clean criminal record.
The school confirms that candidates who have already completed FTE Assessments and those who have a course start date confirmed for 2022 are also welcome to apply.
The selection process will cover five phases, with the first phase – the online application – ending on 31 December 2021. By mid-January 2022 those applicants who have made it through to the second phase will be notified and asked to upload academic certificates, as well as provide evidence of family income.
The third phase will then involve a visit to the FTE campus during February for a one-day assessment, with applicants needing to cover their travel expenses.
The fourth phase, conducted remotely, will entail a personal interview and online psychometric test, provided free of charge. And the final phase will once again take place at the Jerez campus, this time over two days, with candidates taking part in a group exercise and a final interview with a panel comprised of FTE’s Head of Training, HR Manager and CEO.
The winners will then be announced during a formal awarding ceremony which will take place on the second day, including the awarding of Certificates of Achievement to all other candidates reaching this last phase. The scholarship winners will be invited to start training on any AFOP course commencing before 31/08/2022.