Take-off time for Fylde plane maker’s £15.6m training academy

Photo Neil Cross
Jason Bradbury officially opens the new BAE Systems Academy for Skills & Knowledge at Samlesbury

Photo Neil Cross Jason Bradbury officially opens the new BAE Systems Academy for Skills & Knowledge at Samlesbury

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A £15.6m cutting-edge training academy is set to make Lancashire the UK centre for producing the aircraft makers of the future.

A £15.6m cutting-edge training academy is set to make Lancashire the UK centre for producing the aircraft makers of the future.

BAE Systems has officially opened the Academy for Skills and Knowledge next to its Samlesbury site where parts for the latest F35 aircraft is produced.

The building is the focal point of the enterprise zone, with the latest facilities such as 3D printing, carbon composite construction, computer aided design, robots and a virtual reality “cave” all available to the company’s apprentices, graduates and workers and acting as a skills-hub for the region’s engineering and manufacturing sector.

With 26 modern, light and airy classroom facilities, it has been designed and built from scratch over three years, purpose built for training and to inspire the next generation of hi-tech engineers. It will replace the firm’s current training facilities at various sites.

Chris Boardman, managing director of BAE Systems Military Air and Information, said: “The Academy for Skills and 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. ”

The giant building, next to the former runway, was opened by Jason Bradbury, star of TV’s The Gadget Show.

He said: “It is fantastic, it will to both excite and inspire the next generation to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths – something I am extremely passionate about. It’s like Iron Man’s bunker!

“In my day job for the show I travel the world to labs – South Korea, Japan, SiliconValley and see some really sexy stuff.

“I can tell you what we have here is not just cutting edge it is bleeding edge.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies was among VIPs at the opening and said the academy would serve the whole county.

He said: “Training is something I am very passionate about. Warton is the engine of the Fylde with 6,500 people working there and this will ensure that those people will have access to world class training for years to come and ensure Warton has a long and bright future.”