A £5 million training investment by Bond Aviation Group, the UK’s fastest growing family-owned helicopter service provider, has culminated in the graduation of ten pilots from its prestigious pilot ab-initio training scheme and the appointment of four apprentices from the company’s engineering apprenticeship programme.
A significant part of the investment was used to create a state-of-the art training facility at Gloucestershire Airport, complete with a full-motion helicopter training simulator, which includes an identical cockpit found in an EC135 – the helicopter commonly used by police and air ambulance services in the UK and across the world.
The substantial investment has underpinned the success of the company’s pilot sponsorship scheme and engineer apprenticeship programme and has enabled Bond to enhance the courses it runs at its Gloucestershire Airport-based training facility.
Peter Bond, Executive Chairman of Bond Aviation Group, said: “The nature of our business requires highly skilled and motivated individuals, so as a company committed to excellence, we took the decision to invest in our training programmes and facilities. We have now trained some of the best pilots and engineers in the business today and we will continue to invest, to nurture the talent of tomorrow. We warmly welcome the graduates to the company and hope they enjoy a long and rewarding career with Bond.”
In 2008 Bond’s pilot sponsorship scheme attracted applications from over two hundred candidates with just ten chosen for the programme. The rigorous selection process includes an initial assessment with Bond, a series of aptitude tests and interviews.
After undergoing initial flight training in America to obtain their commercial pilot license, the pilots return to Bond where they continue to gain the skills and experience needed to complete their training and flying as co-pilots initially at Bond’s offshore operations operating in Aberdeen and Blackpool.
Richard Lawford, one of the pilot scheme graduates and now a co-pilot for Bond, said: “We all feel very fortunate to have been selected by Bond for their pilot training scheme, which has enabled us to commence training in the knowledge that we have a job with a leading company at the end of it. We are now very much looking forward to progressing our careers with Bond, making use of all the training we have received and continuing the learning process while flying as a co-pilot.”
On the engineering side, the four apprentices that have been appointed are Jakob Aston from Bristol, Jack Morton from Birmingham, Thomas Hale from Gloucester and Miles Carter from Cheltenham, who will work towards completing a three-year programme to become fully licensed helicopter engineers.
Miles Carter, one of the apprentice engineers said:” The apprenticeship programme has allowed me to learn and gain a huge amount of industry experience up close, as the course is very practical. Not many people get a chance to develop helicopter engineering skills through on-the-job training and I feel privileged to have been selected by Bond.”
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