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£15.6M aerospace skills and training academy opens in Lancashire



BAE Systems officially opens new £15.6M training facility in Lancashire, marking largest single investment in UK aerospace skills.

A brand new £15.6M training facility has officially been opened at Samlesbury, Aerospace Enterprise Zone, alongside BAE Systems’ military aircraft advanced manufacturing centre in Lancashire.

The investment in the Academy for Skills and Knowledge (ASK) marks the biggest investment in UK aerospace skills.

The 7,400m² facility will provide training for apprentices and graduates, as well as further education and development for long term employees.

It will house 26 light and airy classroom facilities, and some of the latest technology including VR, robotics and 3D printing technology. The ASK has been designed and built from scratch over three years.

Chris Boardman, Managing Director of BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said: “The Academy for Skills & Knowledge is the single biggest investment in skills in the aerospace industry and offers an unrivalled modern engineering and manufacturing environment in which BAE Systems can deliver the highest quality training.

“We are committed to playing our part in developing skills for the future, for our business, those in our supply chain and in education.”

A £150,000 Kuka robot cell, which BAE Systems used to manufacture parts of the Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II jets, will be present at the academy.

There will also be a virtual reality “cave”, which will provide a training environment that can simulate a range of scenarios, from wiring aircraft to the design of major infrastructure.

A £50k investment in 3D printers will help build skills in rapid prototyping, and a carbon fibre cleanroom will give trainees hands-on experience with some of the materials used to build military aircraft. Early 2017 will also see a Hawk jet trainer delivered to the academy, giving apprentices a chance to see the engineering complexity of a full aircraft up close.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “Our Enterprise Zones across the North have already attracted nearly 9,000 skilled workers and today BAE Systems has become the latest world-class company to get on board with our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse. Northern businesses have established themselves in the top flight of the aerospace industry and the new flagship Academy for Skills and Knowledge will offer excellent opportunities to our young people from the area.”

Chris Boardman, Managing Director of BAE Systems Military Air & Information, added: “The Academy for Skills & Knowledge is the single biggest investment in skills in the aerospace industry and offers an unrivalled modern engineering and manufacturing environment in which BAE Systems can deliver the highest quality training. We are committed to playing our part in developing skills for the future, for our business, those in our supply chain and in education. In our experience, well trained people are both socially mobile and very productive which in turn generates economic wealth for the UK.”

Image: ASK Imagery

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