Engineering & Aerospace News

Weston College wins contract to train GKN Aerospace apprentices after investing £1.5 million in facilities

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Written by: Gavin Thompson | Posted 01 September 2015 14:36

Weston College wins contract to train GKN Aerospace apprentices after investing £1.5 million in facilities
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INVESTMENT in high-tech engineering facilities has paid off for Weston College after it won the contract to train apprentices for GKN Aerospace.

GKN is a top-tier supplier of parts to customers such as Airbus, working with light weight but strong composite materials to help the plane-maker’s aircraft more efficient.

It already has more than 100 apprentices working and learning at its manufacturing base in Filton.

Now it has chosen to work with Weston College, which has been rated outstanding by Ofsted, as training provider for its September 2015 apprentice intake.

The firm was impressed with the college’s business focused approach and the commitment of staff to a high quality learning experience.

But the facilities were a key draw too. The college recently invested £1.5 million in a bespoke training centre which offers a full engineering and manufacturing curriculum including mechanical, fabrication and welding, aeronautical, manufacturing, digital technologies and maintenance.

It is one of the few colleges in the country to offer advanced composites training, which was of particular interest to GKN Aerospace.

The apprentices will train at new state-of-the-art facilities on the South West Skills Campus in Weston.

These facilities, designed to offer companies such as GKN Aerospace an environment that encourages innovation, enterprise and learning, offer a range of workshops such as bespoke engineering and advanced technology workshops, composite manufacturing workshops, 3D printing suites and classrooms, IT suites and learning spaces.

Principal and chief executive Dr Paul Phillips said: “Weston College is delighted to be working with GKN Aerospace in developing and delivering a flagship GKN Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship.

“We are committed to creating an engineering training and skills programme which will directly support the development of a highly skilled, innovative and valuable workforce, supporting GKN Aerospace to be one of the leading aerospace employers globally.”

He added his thanks to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership which supported the development of facilities for advanced technologies.

The college will also become one of the first in the UK to offer a new Trailblazer Apprenticeship for the aerospace industry.

GKN training and development manager Paul Ashbee said: “We are delighted to extend our training portfolio to include Weston College and we look forward to working with them with our new apprentices.”

The college has had a good year, being named College of the Year and Overall FE Provider of the Year at the national TES Awards in recognition of the quality of provision for both students and employers.

Pictured, from left: Mike Bonner, Lecturer & Technician; Steve Caldwell, Head of Faculty; Mike Archer, Lecturer; Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College; Dave Basset, Workshop Manager; Andy Davidson, Executive Director Professional and Technical Curriculum; Ross Hawkins, Curriculum Lead and Alex Manfield, Lecturer.

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