RAF’s Lincolnshire-based flying training service exhibits for first time at Parliament’s Apprenticeships Fair

The RAF’s Lincolnshire-based flying training service has taken part in Parliament’s Apprenticeships Fair for the first time.
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Civilian company Affinity Flying Training Services is a leading aircraft supply and support organisation, operating from RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and RAF Valley in North Wales and was invited for the first time to participate in the annually held fair yesterday (Tuesday).

Following success at the 2023 event in which Affinity attended as a visitor, this year saw Affinity return and ramp up its presence to exhibit alongside industry giants BAE, Babcock and other notable organisations such as Manchester Met and World Skills UK. Representatives from Affinity met with Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan as well as the Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships, Charlotte Nichols, and Jonathan Gullis.

Affinity, a trusted provider of reliable procurement and maintenance services, plays a key role in advancing pilots through the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) delivering over 60,000 flying hours since 2016. The company makes a significant contribution to the UK’s thriving aerospace sector, offering exciting job opportunities for both local professionals and aspiring young talents.

The Affinity team meet Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (second from left) at the Apprenticeships Fair.The Affinity team meet Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (second from left) at the Apprenticeships Fair.
The Affinity team meet Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (second from left) at the Apprenticeships Fair.

Affinity continues to support promising individuals to gain further qualifications including taking aircraft technicians and drivers to become fully qualified and CAA-certified flight engineers. Affinity’s presence at the event underscores its steadfast commitment to its apprenticeship scheme in which it creates promising career pathways that draw local talent from the respective communities in which it operates. Affinity’s dedication to encouraging careers in aviation is demonstrated through its collaboration with the Air and Space Institute in Newark and the Air League Scholarship programme.

The event, hosted by MPs Charlotte Nichols, and Jonathan Gullis, was organised to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week to drive discussions on how to strengthen opportunities for not only young people, but also for professionals seeking new career progression and direction. Affinity engaged in discussions with fellow esteemed employers, academic institutions and apprentices on the challenges of the current system, and how to overcome barriers to foster new generations of talent within the aerospace sector.

Speaking on the event, Business Operations Director at Affinity, Alex Davison stated: “Our apprenticeship scheme plays a pivotal role in cultivating talent by providing hands-on experience and targeted training, fostering a skilled workforce that contributes to enhanced productivity within an organisation. This structured approach not only develops individual capabilities but also generates a positive ripple effect on the overall business, as apprentices bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a strong work ethic to the table.

“The government’s approach to supporting businesses with apprenticeships is good but not perfect. It was therefore useful to discuss some of the challenges that we face with likeminded employers and senior parliamentarians.”

MP Jonathan Gullis meets Affinity apprentice Joe Burton.MP Jonathan Gullis meets Affinity apprentice Joe Burton.
MP Jonathan Gullis meets Affinity apprentice Joe Burton.

Joe Burton, an apprentice at Affinity who attended the fair stated: “The Apprenticeships Parliamentary Fair highlighted the significance of championing alternative career pathways, supporting not only young professionals, like myself, in finding a suitable career direction but also empowering existing professionals to explore new horizons. As an apprentice at Affinity, I've been granted an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow within a team working at the forefront of aerospace innovation.”

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