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Our work with Marshall Aerospace

This year sees double celebrations for a world renowned aerospace company based in Cambridge, with Marshall Aerospace clocking up 80 years in the aviation business and the Marshall Group of Companies a centenary. The Marshall Company started life in 1909 as a chauffeur drive company, moving into the retail motor business and then aviation.

Marshall Aerospace

Marshall Aerospace is today one of Europe’s leading privately-owned aerospace companies with all the capabilities of an aircraft manufacturer.  A dedicated team of over 1,750 highly trained people ensure that the conversion, modification and maintenance of military, corporate and civil airport are carried out to extremely high standards.

This well established family business is based on an 800 acre site and operates from its own locally established airport in Cambridge.  It has an exceptional range of facilities housed in 1.2 million sq ft of hangar space.

Pam Lord, Team Leader (Education), explained that the recently formed Aero Academy operates as a business unit, encompassing all internal and external training, including apprentices and adult trainees, and a new venture into offering a foundation degree.

Seventy three apprentices and adult trainees are currently involved in various stages of training in Aerospace Engineering from BTEC, HNC and HND with some moving on to part-time degrees.

Talking about training provided by Bedford College, Pam says:

“Our apprentices attend Bedford College one day a week to study towards industry recognised qualifications that back up the work they do here on aircraft.”

“Bedford College delivers the technical certificate element of the Advanced Apprenticeship.  A framework of training has to be in place to qualify for funding and a large element of that is the BTEC national certificate.  We need the underpinning knowledge that the technical certificate offers.”

“The vast majority of our apprentices will become either airframe fitters or electrical/avionics fitters and some continue their studies to licensed engineer level. Those apprentices destined to become design engineers often continue to a full degree.”

Rob Butler Trade Manager (Electrical/Avionics) added:

“Our relationship with the college has developed over time and we now have strong bonds that support our apprentices.  Staff from Bedford College listen to our specific requirements, go away and work on them and come back to us with solutions.   That is brilliant and gives us exactly what we want.”

“The modules need to meet our current and future business requirements and we need to get return from our apprentices.  Our apprentices receive support from both Marshall Aerospace and Bedford College.”

“The strong link between Pam Lord, Team Leader (Education), the College and trainees is the key to understanding possibilities and what we can achieve.  We have a unique opportunity to contribute to dynamic change in a competitive world industry and that needs input from everyone involved.”

“We have a high priority to develop staff because of the nature of the business.  Our turnover is low at 11% in a highly competitive business world-wide.  We are confident that we can compete anywhere in the way we develop, train and treat people who work here.”

Training undertaken at Bedford College
  • HNC and HND in Aerospace Engineering
  • BTEC in Aerospace Engineering

What were your training objectives?
“To give staff an underpinning knowledge to complement the practical training they are getting working on aircraft.  They need to know the theory behind the practical work.”

Were they achieved?
“Yes - we have a high percentage of pass rates. We have a close working relationship with Mark Jarmain and Rob Stonehouse at Bedford College and receive regular routine reports on progress of our apprentices.”

“The College has been very responsive to our needs.  Our Trade Managers have carefully matched the knowledge required by fitters to the modules included in BTEC so that our apprentices can get most out of their studies.  The College have worked closely with us and the modules are now tailor made, where possible to our requirements.  They engage with us very well.”

What has been the impact on your performance?
“It is absolutely vital that apprentices gain theory knowledge.  Our own instructors then build on that theory training.   This helps us fulfil the requirements of the Advanced Apprenticeship Framework and industry requirements.”

What has been the impact on the organisation’s performance?
“We need staff to be up to date with the technical requirements of the aircraft industry and the training they receive at Bedford College gives them that.”

“Training is a high priority for our company and that commitment is shown in that we lose apprentices one day a week so that they can undertake training.  Bedford College recognises the fact that we are a commercial operation and that time is money.  The College has been flexible in their induction process and in fact now visit our site and enrol students here.”

“The College also run a full time National Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering and that gives us a useful pool of applicants who want to work with us.”