Neil Rutledge, Scott Williams and Callum McGee have just completed the first phase of a unique apprenticeship which will see them providing vital maintenance services to the RAF’s fast jet fleet.
This year over 30 apprentices completed the maintenance apprenticeship scheme which not only equips students with practical skills to move into engineering maintenance roles but provides them with a number of recognised qualifications.
Neil, Scott and Callum all began their apprenticeships as adults. Feeling the strain of the recession they took a complete change in direction and embarked on a new career in aircraft engineering.
• Neil Rutledge
From standing on the doors of a Wakefield nightclub to learning the intricate mechanics of a fast jet Neil Rutledge from Wakefield is jokily referred to as “the most intelligent bouncer they know” by friends. He says “To be honest, the apprenticeship has been far better than I expected and I hope that there will be opportunities to travel the world with this role. I’d recommend the scheme to anyone.”
• Scott Williamson
A former gas fitter from Huddersfield, Scott was out of work and looking for inspiration. He found the apprenticeship scheme advertised in a local paper and began his apprenticeship at the age of 23. He laughs “It’s a bit different to gas boilers and fires. We have access to two Hawk aircraft during the first 8 months of our training. You know from day one working on these aircraft that what we’re training for is important.”
• Callum McGee
A graduate in medical engineering Callum always thought he would pursue a career in a hospital. Instead he swapped the hospital for a high-tech hangar. He added “The fact that I had a degree first helps. Despite having a degree we’ve all started at the same level of learning. That’s one of the things I noticed about this scheme, it can work for everyone, not just school leavers as people might have once thought.”
The Aircraft Maintenance Academy is based at Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster making it central to our sites and RAF bases across the country. The scheme, launched in 2009 has seen over 150 apprentices step through the doors of the training facility at Robin Hood helping to provide the UK and the RAF with a constant feed of skilled aircraft maintenance engineers.
In 2009 the company was awarded MOD contracts worth approximately £1 billion relating to maintenance and support and employs over 800 people directly in this area.