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Student skills take off

Martin Blaze presenting Paul Hendry-Smith (MD of The Light Aircraft Company) with a cheque to purchase the fuselage of the Sherwood Ranger.
After months of preparation, engineering skills at the North Suffolk Skills Academy have now taken off

Recently we told you how students at the North Suffolk Skills Academy (NSSA) in Halesworth, near RAF Marham are taking on the task of building a Sherwood Ranger aircraft.

Update alert!

Well, we’re delighted to announce that the course has now officially been launched.

Launch of new venture

On Monday 16 October the whole academy came together to celebrate the formal opening of this new venture, where the centre-piece of the day was the formal opening of the academy by Martin Blaze, Director of the Aircraft Maintenance and Support business. During the ceremony Martin undertook a ceremonial ribbon cutting, unveiled a plaque and presented a cheque on behalf of the academy to the light aircraft Company for the fuselage of the aircraft. 

The event was well attended by local dignitaries and other departments within the academy, including catering and the media department, who recorded the event for a future documentary.

In attendance

In addition to Martin Blaze, our Company was represented by Dave Ward, Head of UK Fleet Operations – Tornado and General Manager RAF Marham, Gary Bootle, Head of Maintenance – Tornado, Euan Lucie-Smith, Education Ambassador Coordinator at RAF Marham and Baz Reed, Lead Mentor. As this venture is being supported by our RAF colleagues at RAF Marham, they sent along Squadron Leader Andy Climie and Corporal Jona Franklyn-Bray to support the launch.

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

Speaking after the event, Dave Ward said: “Today was a significant milestone in the partnership between the NSSA and BAE Systems.  I was particularly pleased to meet such an outstanding group of students and a team of incredibly dedicated staff.  I'm sure this academy will help to inspire the next generation of engineers through innovative programmes such as build-a-plane, and close working with partners such as the RAF and BAE Systems.”

Want to take part?


If you live in East Anglia and would like to get involved in this exciting project then please contact either Euan Lucie-Smith (RAF Marham 01760 337261 Ext 7490) or Baz Reed (RAF Marham 01760 337261 Ext 7385) for further details.

We’ll keep you posted on how this exciting project is developing over the next couple of years.