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Higher engineering apprentices ‘make a real difference’ at GE Aviation

24 April 2015

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2015 and highlight the value its higher apprentices bring to one of the biggest employers in the county, Gloucestershire College organised a press tour of GE Aviation Cheltenham for Martin Horwood MP; CEO of GFirst LEP, David Owen; the Gloucestershire Echo; and Cotswold Life Business and Professional

Based in Bishop’s Cleeve, this particular GE Aviation site provides the world’s leading aircraft with cockpit displays, electrical power management systems and other essential components, and employs 25 talented higher apprentices from Gloucestershire College.

Two GE apprentices – both Gloucestershire College Higher Engineering Apprentices from Cheltenham – delivered an impressive presentation about their apprenticeship programme and why they chose this route over university.

Both had received little information about apprenticeships from their previous schools and after researching online, discovered they could earn a starting salary of £16,000, whilst getting relevant, hands-on work experience at GE Aviation, and even progress on to a Master’s Degree – with all course fees paid by GE Aviation.

The presentation really highlighted the need for schools to do more to promote apprenticeships alongside university degrees, with Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood saying: “It is about educating society that apprenticeships are just as important.”

Guests were then given the chance to try out the on-site flight simulator, before embarking on a tour of some of the facilities the higher apprentices use to learn more about the projects they work on, which range from building Remote Interface Units for aeroplanes to introducing primary school children to the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

David Owen said: "The quality, confidence and knowledge of the Gloucestershire College Higher Apprentices were superb. All of those we met were making a real difference at GE Aviation and being given significant responsibility by the company – a testament to how well developed they are.  

“Apprenticeships provide a great way for young people to gain invaluable experience and qualifications whilst earning money. What was very clear from the visit was that the apprentices are working on projects that are real, and having an impact on GE locally as well as internationally.

“If we can open up the possibilities of apprentices to even more young people - through good quality advice and guidance at school - then we can ensure that more of our great businesses, across all sectors, have the supply of talent they need."

Martin Horwood MP added: “This was a great way to mark National Apprenticeship Week. No-one seemed very impressed with my aircraft landing skills on the simulator although I didn’t actually crash the plane!”

Gloucestershire College is the leading provider of apprenticeships in the county; currently working with more than 600 local businesses and 1,000 apprentices at all levels.

Contact the dedicated GC Business Hub on 01452 563400 or email for more information.

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