Aviation industry and mainstream education combine in UK first

Posted on 14 July, 2021 by Advance 

An innovative training facility next to London City Airport has been launched today to offer the UK’s first post-16 courses tailored to careers in the aviation industry.


Building mock-up.
Courtesy IASTI

Alongside its Newark counterpart, the International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI) London City is set to transform the aviation industry’s approach to training by embedding industry-led courses in mainstream education.

In partnership with London Design and Engineering University Technical College – situated across the runway from London City Airport – IASTI London City will welcome its first students in September.

Young people aged 16 to 18 are currently enrolling on one of three unique training programmes: engineering, ground operations and piloting.

Each course has been co-designed and will be co-taught by industry professionals, meaning students will learn in line with the stringent requirements of the industry – from the age of 16.

It will be first time a single facility has simultaneously provided training on each of these three industry pillars, with all courses overlapping and interacting.

Work-based qualifications up to a BSc (Hons) will be the reward for students finishing each pathway, ensuring the most talented and ambitious people are attracted to the courses.

This pioneering approach to training is a complete step-change for an industry whose existing entry routes are often via expensive commercial training programmes divorced from mainstream education.

Simon Witts, CEO of IASTI, said: “The aviation industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled people that is jeopardising its future. This has only worsened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“IASTI offers a new vision for the industry – one that says a sustainable future is possible. Integrating mainstream education with the air and space sector will provide a pipeline of talented young people trained in line with the specific requirements of the industry, helping combat the skills shortage.

“We hope this is the start of a shift towards aviation careers being accessible to all, and helping the industry build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Not only will this yield important benefits for society, it will ensure the aviation industry can benefit from the skills and talents of the widest possible pool of people.”

Geoffrey Fowler, CEO and Principal of London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDE UTC), said: “I am delighted that LDE UTC has been chosen to be the brand-new lead partner of IASTI London City.

“This exciting partnership will bring yet more opportunities for the young people of Newham and London, raising their aspirations and inspiring them to begin their journey into a dynamic career in aviation.

“We are looking forward to delivering state of the art modern pedagogy allowing learners the chance to explore sustainability, technology and personal skills that will equip them to shape the aviation industry of the future.”

Industry giants have recognised the promise of this groundbreaking institute and flocked to support IASTI London City.

Embraer, London City Airport and Boeing are among IASTI London City’s industry partners and representatives from each organisation spoke at today’s launch.

Ayslan Anholon, Head of Flight Operations & Training, Embraer Services & Support at Embraer, said: “It’s a real pleasure for Embraer to be part of today’s event and to see the industry preparing to bounce back in a sustainable way whilst addressing the all-important diversity and inclusivity challenges that have existed for too long in this industry.

“We’ll be supporting the IASTI through providing student support, case studies, training materials and equipment as the education and training commences in September 2021, as well as putting our weight behind the wider programme targets of engaging, educating and training the next generation of aviation professionals through the IASTI and ENGAP UK movement.”

Nichola Bates, Global Lead at Boeing Horizon X, said: “Boeing are pleased to support training the next generation of aviation professionals at London City Airport.

“The challenges facing aviation are being felt across our industry. IASTI is a great example of the industry recognising our collective responsibility and pulling together to support young people with the right skills and experience.”

Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Affairs at London City Airport, said: “The opening of the Institute presents a great opportunity for young East Londoners to build a career in aviation.

“The coalition of partners involved, from almost every part of the industry, will offer students an experience like no other, and we look forward to working with them and providing real life practical examples from London City to aid their learning and to help them stand out in the job market.”

Dependent on their desired route, students will continue onto a university course at the University of Central Lancashire or University of East London to complete the second part of the pathway.

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: “As a university committed to opening up opportunities to students from all backgrounds, the IASTI strategy aligns to our core mission at UCLan.

“We are a university that embraces collaboration to meet the future skills needs of the industry and we are delighted to be working in partnership with industry leaders to provide pathways for young people who aspire to a career in aviation.

“This collaboration brings together exceptional training, academic excellence and strong airline connections, to create integrated pathways into the aviation industry.”

Professor Amanda Broderick, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of East London, said: “We are very delighted with the launch of the IASTI which will provide a great opportunity for the young generation to develop a professional career in aviation.

“UEL in partnership with UTC and the industrial partners will provide great opportunities to those future leaders to progress their career all the way up to not only a degree level but also to a professional doctorate.

“We are investing heavily in a state of the art resources for aviation including advanced simulators, augmented and virtual reality and computational techniques.”

IASTI aims to embed aviation careers into pre-16, post-16 and post-18 education options, steadily expanding its offer to include courses in all key areas of the industry. A new building is planned to house the expansion of IASTI London City by late 2023.