High-flying students hear of exciting apprenticeship opportunities


Five students will be given the chance to spread their wings and work on some of the world’s most famous training aircraft as part of an eye-catching apprentice opportunity.

Babcock International provides maintenance support for the training aircraft fleet of the Royal Air Force, and for several years now has enjoyed a partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education, providing exclusive work placement opportunities for full time aeronautical engineering students.

Last year, the College provided eight apprentices to Babcock and this year there are a further five opportunities available for the right candidates from the Aeronautical Engineering course.

Around 30 students attended a presentation at the College which was led by Babcock’s Engineering Director Jon Russell, and then had the opportunity to ask questions and put themselves forward for interview in what is seen as the first stage of the recruitment process.

Of those 30 students, the five who impress the most will be put through a rigorous selection process to make sure they are suitable for the highly-responsible roles.

Mr Russell said: “We are delighted with the relationship we have with Hartlepool College, and this is our preferred provider when it comes to recruiting young workers.

“We had eight from Hartlepool last year, and they have all been of the highest quality. They have set the bar high for the next batch of recruits.

“In the sector we work in, this isn’t just about getting a job after a qualification. It’s more than that.

“These people are coming into the team and working on aeroplanes, it’s a responsibility but we have found the students we get from Hartlepool carry themselves in the highest possible way.”

College Aerospace Engineering students are a common sight at RAF Leeming, working with Babcock staff on the maintenance and operations of BAE Hawk fast jets flown by 100 Squadron RAF.

These planes are used for a variety of training and exercise roles, and students are allowed highly privileged and trusted access to their systems, as well as playing a part out on the hard standing with pre-flight checks and sortie marshalling.

Students also visit RAF Linton-On-Ouse, working on the Shorts Tucanos of the RAF’s No 1 Flight Training School.

Hartlepool College is one of the largest apprentice training providers in the region and the seventh best performing apprentice provider in England.

Together they are helping to supply the aerospace industry with the next generation of highly skilled licenced aircraft engineers.

Darren Hankey, Principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “We have an excellent working relationship with Babcock, and long may that continue.”

The college is the biggest provider of apprentices in the local area, with over 850 last year, and is officially the seventh best performing apprenticeship provider in the country – facts that continues to attract new businesses of all sizes and sectors to join the over 2,000 the Stockton Street-based college has worked with over the years.


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