Plans for a pioneering £12m Aerospace and Technology College at Biggin Hill Airport are set to become a reality, with the Greater London Authority (GLA) providing major funding for the project.

The new College will help address the huge skills gap that the aviation industry is facing by providing first-class technical training for the next generation of engineers, technicians and ground crew.

London South East Colleges has been working with the airport, the GLA, the local authority and employers over the past few years to develop plans for the much-needed facility.

The GLA grant comes from its Skills for Londoners FE Capital Investment Fund, which responds to current and future skills requirements of employers and learners. It also aims to establish strong partnerships with employers and stakeholders.

A full funding application was submitted and given final approval by the Mayor earlier this month following a detailed assessment.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:

“The Mayor and I are committed to helping Londoners gain the skills that the capital’s businesses need.

“It’s vital that we tackle the skills gap in the aviation industry and the London Aerospace and Technology College at Biggin Hill Airport will help keep London at the cutting edge of aviation technology.”

Chair of London South East Colleges, Stephen Howlett CBE, DL added:

“We are extremely grateful to both the GLA and to Biggin Hill Airport for their support. This college will not only offer many local young people first class, technical education and excellent career prospects, but will also address a severe skills shortage within the aviation industry.

 “London South East Colleges has been driving this project for some time and we are now looking forward to working with our partners and making it a reality.”

Chairman of London Biggin Hill Airport, Andrew Walters, said:

“We’ve been working closely with the Greater London Authority, the London Borough of Bromley, and London South East Colleges to create a state-of-the-art facility that will give students unique insight into their future careers by training on site at the airport.

“Following a promise made three years ago, and the introduction of our extended opening hours, I am delighted to see this project come to fruition.

“As the fastest growing business aviation airport in the Europe, our focus is on inspiring and training the aerospace industry professionals of tomorrow and we’re delighted that with this investment, our vision can now take flight.”

The new College will offer around 250 places for students when it opens in September 2019, expanding to over 750 by 2021/22. A range of technical specialities will be covered, including routes into Aerospace Engineering. Other aviation pathways will also be on offer for progression into a broad range of jobs on the ground, including Cabin Crew and Aviation Operations.

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