Are apprenticeships ‘the next big thing’ for business aviation?

With so many companies, and indeed industries, competing for the same ‘bright young things’ these days, securing top-class staff with potential can be a real challenge. The idea of apprenticeships may not be new but a modern approach to this long-established practice is proving very successful for many companies across aviation.

In fact, we’ve just launched our first apprenticeship at Luxaviation UK and we’re really enjoying the experience. The classic mix of practical on-the-job training and formal study is a powerful combination and it is going to be interesting to see if and how apprenticeships can play a key role not just in our recruitment, but also in the wider Luxaviation Group that we are an entity of.

I’ve asked our first apprentice recruit Ryan Jury, and our director of operations Leigh Westwood, who is responsible for overseeing Ryan’s progress, to tell us more.

How did the apprenticeship come about?

Leigh Westwood: Alongside my work for Luxaviation UK as director of operations, I’m also deputy chairman of the UK Operations Managers Association (UKOMA) and the idea of introducing apprenticeships to Luxaviation UK really started to form when I was talking to my UKOMA associates.

Some of my counterparts in the airline industry mentioned how impressed they had been by the apprenticeships they were running alongside Crosby Management Training/Crosby Aviation, an established provider of apprenticeships in the UK.

And although there are many differences between how scheduled airlines and business jet companies operate, there are also many similarities in the core functions. So I spoke to our senior management team and we decided to go ahead with an apprenticeship.

Ryan Jury: As soon as I heard about the opportunity with Luxaviation UK, I knew I was interested. I’m 19 years old and had taken my A levels in 2018. University was one possibility for me but this apprenticeship – Aviation Ground Specialist (Flight Operations) – really captured my imagination.

The apprenticeship began in January 2019 and runs until the end of December 2019.

Leigh: It’s worth pointing out, though, Ryan is already on a permanent contract with us, so his role at Luxaviation UK will continue after he completes his apprenticeship. There’s no end-date. He’s working Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:30, and we’re committed to developing his future with us long after the apprenticeship ends.

Is there a separate course you need to study for?

Ryan: Alongside the on-the-job training with Luxaviation UK, I’m studying through Crosby Management Training/Crosby Aviation. In the classroom, for example, I might be looking at safety issues such as the transportation of dangerous goods.

Leigh: One of the great benefits of apprenticeships is that you can use your own high-quality training to mould people to fit the culture and approach of your business perfectly. Ryan, for example, is settling in really well. Sometimes, experienced people can arrive with pre-conceived ideas and bad habits that make life difficult and simply don’t fit your business but talented young people like Ryan arrive eager to learn and buzzing with strong, fresh ideas.

What areas have you been working in so far?

Ryan: I’ve already been working in a number of areas, including supporting clients, setting up flights all the way through to dispatch and arranging catering and accommodation, including booking hotels for crew. Even after just two months, I feel as if I’m being trained in every aspect of the flight operations process.

Would you recommend apprenticeship schemes to other business aviation operators?

Leigh: I’d definitely recommend apprenticeships to other companies in business aviation. Our relationship with Crosby is developing really well and I’m sure we’ll soon start investing in similar schemes and national qualifications to help train our existing staff, who are already outstanding, to work to even higher standards. Investing in people’s futures, and showing you appreciate their work, is such a smart approach to the long-term growth of your company.

Ryan: And I certainly think more young people like me should try apprenticeships in aviation. The opportunities for promotion are one of the most exciting aspects of working in the industry.

Thank you Ryan, thank you Leigh. We are very happy with the progress that Ryan has made so far and we will continue to look for ways to expand our apprenticeships to the next generation of industry professionals. Business aviation is an extremely worthwhile career path and we will do everything we can to encourage and nurture new talent.

Published in BlueSky Business Aviation News

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