GKN boosts aerospace apprenticeships at its Bristol plants

January 21, 2014

GKN Aerospace, the advanced engineering firm, is to increase its intake of apprentices as production is stepped up at its two major plants in Bristol.

The firm, which produces wing parts for aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Lockheed Martin at the plants at Filton and Western Approach, Severnside, will this year take on 48 apprentices, up from 44 in 2013.  

The scheme is also being extended to add technician apprenticeships to the advanced and higher-level schemes provided in previous years. This year’s September recruits will take the total number of apprentices in training at the Bristol sites during the next academic year to 129. 

GKN Aerospace – Filton managing director John Pritchard said: “Our apprenticeship scheme is at the heart of our success as a company and offers an incredible career opportunity for our recruits.

“This new technician apprenticeship adds a new option for our recruits. But whichever apprenticeship they take on, each individual is taught state-of-the-art aerospace manufacturing skills, learning how to work with the latest exotic metals and high performance composite materials.

“By the second year of their training they are starting to make a real contribution to our work designing, developing and manufacturing complex wing structures for the world’s leading military and commercial aircraft.”

Steve Colebrook, general manager at the Western Approach facility, added: “Our wing structures engineering and manufacturing skills are second to none and, having started my own career as an apprentice, I know that the contribution these young people make to our long term business success.  It is a true pleasure to see each individual develop their skills and confidence through our ever-growing apprenticeship programme.” 

The newly introduced technician apprenticeship trains individuals for vital technical support roles such as maintaining the cutting-edge manufacturing and assembly equipment and using state-of-the-art technology to perform rigorous testing and measuring of complex wing structures, ensuring they meet critical manufacturer’s specifications. 

GKN Aerospace’s Bristol sites represent the centre of the company’s international wing structures business. The plants design, manufacture and assemble complex wing structures for aircraft such as French group Dassault’s new Falcon 5X super mid-sized business jet, Lockheed Martin of the US’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and a range of Airbus aircraft including the A330 and A320 aircraft, the A380 superjumbo, the A400M military transporter and the pioneering A350XWB for which GKN makes parts for its innovative composite wings at Western Approach

GKN is staging an open evening from 4.00pm to 7.00pm at the BAWA Centre, Southmead Rd, Filton, this Thursday for anyone interested in an apprenticeship with the firm.

Pictured: Adam Fracz, GKN Aerospace’s apprentice of the year, 2013, at work at its Filton plant


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