Scotland’s aerospace and defence industry is regarded as one of the most vibrant and successful sectors of UK business, accounting for around 10% of the UK’s aerospace industry with world-renowned manufacturers such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce positioning the country as a key player.
As the aviation industry flourishes globally, Perth College UHI in partnership with Air Service Training (AST), the oldest aviation training organisation of its type in the world, continue to develop and run a range of innovative Aeronautical and Aircraft Engineering courses to meet the increasing demand for an experienced, highly-skilled workforce.
Attracting students from across the world to its conveniently central location, Perth College UHI’s newest offering, the BSc Hons Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Management degree is the very first of its kind to be available in Scotland and brings together an expert staff to provide graduates with a training certificate in addition to an Honours degree, designed to facilitate a more efficient and productive pathway to becoming an aircraft engineer.
Year upon year, Perth College UHI continues producing industry-ready graduates of the highest calibre through a unique marriage of practical skills and robust classroom learning, readying students for both the challenges and benefits accompanying careers within the modern day aeronautical industry through its state-of-the-art education and research facilities.
With both civilian and military backgrounds, the specialist teaching staff, which includes former engineers from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fleets and aerodynamicists who have worked with Formula 1 teams, coupled with their world class facilities which include hangar space, functioning aircraft, fixed base and full motion simulators alongside wind tunnels and research facilities ensures that graduating engineers and technicians are capable of responding to each stage of the product life-cycle, from conceptual design through to in-service support.
And in efforts to drive innovative and industrial advancements, Perth College UHI alongside AST and others is leading plans for The Aviation Academy of Scotland (AAS), one of the Tay Cities Deal projects.
Following a multimillion-pound investment in the region, the Academy has ambitions to integrate local, regional and national aviation education and specialist training and skills and its Perth campus will focus on Engineering and Air Traffic and Aviation Management skills, helping develop a workforce with the skills necessary to respond to aviation’s global growth and to the emerging clean technologies and low carbon transport sectors.
With demand continuing to rise – and a global increase which will see air traffic doubling over the next 15 years if current growth rates continue – the need for experienced personnel to fly, support and maintain the required aircraft will be unprecedented.
With new Research Degree-awarding powers, as part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, Perth College UHI now has the opportunity to increase the number of PhDs in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. The co-location of the AAS and an Engineering Innovation and Development Incubator affords opportunities for industry – set real life research projects to be undertaken by Perth College UHI researchers so developing skills and knowledge in the student whilst also improving research-teaching links.
Dr Efstathios Tingas, Perth College UHI Lecturer in Engineering and Aviation says the combination of skills and knowledge brought by Perth College UHI and AST within the AAS will reinforce provision of an unrivalled centre of training excellence in Scotland.
He added: “The project brings together the key private and public aviation training facilities across Tayside in a new collaboration that will boost the sector’s skills and technology base to become more competitive in an international marketplace. It will establish the only internationally recognised facility in Scotland capable of meeting the full needs of the aviation industry and of providing world class training.”
Already delivering Engineering Foundation apprenticeships, Perth College UHI has further ambitions to offer specialist apprenticeships to Perth and Kinross schools, helping provide this burgeoning industry with a pool of work-ready engineers from the point of leaving education.