Following an incredibly challenging year that left the aviation industry grounded by the pandemic, aspiring pilots and aviation students across the region are reaching new heights.
Middlesbrough College has partnered with Eden Flight Training to help aviation students’ careers take off, with a series of ground school lessons followed by an experience flight.
The partnership got off to a flying start when the first class of learners attended the school at Teesside International Airport, where they had the opportunity to take control of an aircraft as it navigated a route around Durham, Seaham, Hartlepool and over Middlesbrough College on their way back to the airport.
Kerry Dixon, curriculum team leader for Aviation, Travel and Tourism at Middlesbrough College, said: “Through our links with leading industry providers such as Eden Flight Training, we’re able to offer young people a unique insight into the aviation industry.
“It builds on Middlesbrough College’s first-class offering, with industry experienced teaching staff and excellent facilities such as our mock cabin where we can simulate on board operations.
“This partnership is all about raising aspirations, opening up opportunities and giving our learners the chance to experience their dream career first-hand.
“As education providers, we can teach and nurture students to a certain extent, but this collaboration will take their ambitions to a whole new level.”
Through the College’s connections and industry partners, students have exclusive access to training at Teesside Airport and other UK airports.
Marc Watson, director of operations, pilot and ground instructor at Eden Flight Training, said: “We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to inspire students and bring more young people from our area into the industry.
“Our partnership with Middlesbrough College is opening the door to a career that many young people in the region don’t realise is within their reach.
“It’s incredible to watch the students realise their ambitions as they take control of and fly the aircraft – something I could only ever dream of as a youngster growing up in the North East at that time.
“That’s why as a business, it’s so important for us to be an integral part of the community, inspiring and supporting young people to achieve their potential.
“Opportunities are now much more accessible, and we are very proud of the partnership, allowing us to share our experience with the learners.”
Middlesbrough College offers a variety of courses in Aviation, Travel and Tourism from Level 1 up to Level 6 BA (Hons) degrees. This year they are introducing an access course, written as a bespoke programme to encourage adults back into education and on to work within the industry. Travel and Tourism students regularly go on residential trips to places like New York and Dubai to get experience in the international tourism sector.
Aspiring pilot Elissa Milburn was one of a handful of students who had the opportunity to take to the skies with Marc.
The 17-year-old Level 3 Aviation student from Ingleby Barwick hopes to ramp up her learning and undergo a private pilot licence (PPL) accreditation.
She said: “I’m in my second year now and my course has given me a real insight into the aviation industry – and experiences like this make me realise it’s definitely what I want to do in the future.
“This type of training is crucial and goes towards the 45 hours of flying I need to get my private pilot licence.
“I’ve always been interested in travel and I thought, if I’m going to aim high, a pilot is probably as high as it gets."