Blackpool and The Fylde College partners with BAE Systems to educate higher apprentices

Blackpool and The Fylde College is set to educate and train the next generation of advanced engineers for the aerospace industry after being appointed by BAE Systems to supply its specialist Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering, education and training.

The deal means B&FC will provide bespoke higher education programmes to a select group of high performing students, hand-picked for the course by BAE Systems for their academic excellence, technical aptitude and communication skills. The students will stay on programme for up to five years and complete a Higher Apprenticeship, consisting of a Level 4 NVQ and Foundation Degree, leading to a BEng (Hons) in Aerospace Engineering.

The engineering team at the college is now developing a custom set of modules and programme delivery methods which will utilise specialist hardware and software. The first cohort of students will begin their training in September 2015, with much of the college-based delivery taking place at its new Advanced Technology Centre – an industry leading facility supporting local labour growth in the advance d manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The news cements B&FC’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading providers of world-class vocational engineering qualifications. The college’s provision was rated Grade 1 by Ofsted in October 2013 and it remains one of only two further education colleges in the country with Outstanding status for its engineering delivery under the new common inspection framework.

B&FC has been successfully supporting BAE’s project management capabilities for the past nine years through a similar arrangement. The Project Control Foundation Scheme has seen some of the best results in the country, with eight of the twelve students graduating in 2014 receiving first-class honours and four gaining a 2:1. The course attracts some of the highest calibre learners in the Northwest of England and it is anticipated that the Engineering courses will follow suit.

Catherine Hill, deputy principal at B&FC said: “I am delighted that we have been successful in our competitive bid to supply BAE Systems with their Engineering Higher Apprenticeship delivery.

“Our project management scheme has grown from a local picture supporting Warton employees to Samlesbury, Portsmouth and Barrow-in-Furness. It has received such national acclaim that we now deliver the same programme for Rolls Royce in Derby. We hope our engineering scheme will grow to even greater proportions.”

Andy Bloor, head of early careers at BAE Systems Military Air and Information, said: "The Higher Apprenticeship in project management which we run together with Blackpool and The Fylde College has been hugely successful and we hope the engineering equivalent will follow this success. "At BAE Systems, we have a pedigree of investing in our future by developing our next generation of engineers and this is another example of this commitment."