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Pilot Apprenticeships: Soon to become a reality?

In recent years, with the rising cost of university fees, reaching up to £10,000 per year, more and more young people are looking for alternative ways to gain further education and qualifications, many turning towards the ever expanding range of apprenticeship schemes, which are no longer limited to roles such as Construction, but now range from sectors such as Accounting, Nuclear Decommissioning and Spa Therapy.

This week, the British Airline Pilot Association has revealed more information on the work being carried out by the Aviation Industry Skills Board to come up with a new Pilot Apprentice standard, which could save trainee-pilots up to £27,000.

The standard, an industry first, has been approved for development by the Department for Education and it is being supported by a number of leading UK airlines, including British Airways, Monarch, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook, along with many others. The standard also has backing from the CAA, the Honourable Company of Air Pilots and BALPA.

From later this year, UK-operating businesses, across the board, with a payroll of over £3 million per year will be required to pay a new levy charge of 0.5% of their payroll costs. Companies can chose to offset or recuperate this money by adopting an apprenticeship scheme, making it an appealing proposition not just fro would-be pilots, but also their future employers.

Estimates have suggested that a trainee pilot could save as much as £27,000 overall, which of course will not cover the complete cost but could cover up to 50% of a modular trainee’s outlay, making it a great stride forward for flight training.

According to BALPA (British Airline Pilot Association), an expression of interest to develop an apprenticeship standard for commercial pilots was submitted to the Department of Education back in October 2016. The standard received formal approval in February this year. However, as can be expected, the standard will take a while to develop, but BALPA suggests that the standard should be available to aspiring pilots as soon as 2018.

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