Airbus and Siemens are winding down production of the ventilator parts they have been producing for the NHS after answering the Government’s call to join the fight against Covid-19.
Working as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, which brought together some of the world’s most innovative industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, the teams worked around the clock to help produce more than 10,000 ventilators in just 14 weeks.
In a matter of days, Airbus, Siemens and AMRC colleagues rapidly transformed the Welsh Government-owned AMRC Cymru facility in Broughton, North Wales, from a research and development centre into an assembly line to produce medical ventilators on an unprecedented scale.
At the height of production - following approval by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - the teams helped build up to 1,500 Penlon Prima ESO2 ventilators each week; equivalent to six months’ normal UK ventilator production in just one day.
Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “We’re incredibly proud of how the AMRC Cymru facility played its part in the national effort to fight Covid-19. We should learn from this fantastic collaborative effort to explore new opportunities in the future.”
Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, involving some of the UK’s most iconic businesses, for stepping forward to work with government and meet the unprecedented challenge created by the pandemic. The fight against coronavirus is a collective national effort and the production of hospital ventilators for the NHS has made a real difference.”
The mechanical breathing devices - an update on an existing Penlon model - supply air and oxygen to patients who suffer lung failure as a result of contracting Covid-19 and have no doubt saved countless lives.
Paul McKinlay, Airbus Senior Vice President, said: “Ventilator Challenge UK has shown what is possible when highly effective manufacturing and engineering teams collaborate around a common goal. I couldn't be more proud of our Airbus employees - more used to building aircraft wings than medical devices - who have worked around the clock with Siemens, McLaren, Ford, STI and Penlon colleagues to produce these life-saving ventilators in just 14 weeks.”
Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Digital Industries, Siemens UK and Ireland, added: “We have learned so much together through the ventilator challenge, chiefly the power of collaboration, engagement and meritocracy. We also made huge progress applying digital tools that took us further, faster when it mattered, and I know consortium members will be keen to carry lessons and build skills from this experience into the future.”
A consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK.
The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium (“the consortium”) is led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of manufacturing research centres in the UK.
Over the past week the consortium has been working hard to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (“RMVS”) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”).
The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators.
Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the Government in excess of 10,000 units.
The consortium will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS.
The regulator has been involved throughout and we anticipate a straightforward and very prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit.
The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week.
The consortium also includes another producer of medical ventilators and it will provide them with additional manufacturing support and assembly facilities in order to scale up production of a second existing ventilator design which has full regulatory approval.
In response to the NHS’ requirements to treat coronavirus patients, there are a range of other projects aiming to increase ventilator production.
The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium is committed to playing its role in delivering both medical ventilator designs to the required specifications and, in conjunction with these other companies, organisations and groups, aid the delivery of additional ventilators to the NHS. The companies involved have taken many of their people from key company projects to do this and serve the national need.
Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s chief executive, said:
“This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world. Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different. They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has awarded a £5m match funded investment to the new Centre for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI). Giving Airbus, along with other multiple-sector companies, the opportunity to accelerate digital engineering.
DETI was officially launched at a ceremony in the National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol. It will develop training courses in advanced digital engineering to increase the capacity of future generation’s skills, while retaining those of the current workforce.
The project will boost the South West’s global leadership in High Value Design (HVD), aiming to re-engineer engineering so future generations continue to push the boundaries of innovation. This will ensure the UK remains an international leader in the aerospace sector.
The Airbus-led ‘Bird of Prey’ initiative, unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2019, is a key example of promoting HVD in stimulating excitement in STEM subjects. It shows how learning from nature could help us develop a new generation of aircraft needed to address the growing environmental challenge. Its innovative range of technologies, from hybrid electric propulsion to active, advanced composite wing control systems result in a fuel burn 30 – 50% lower than today’s aircraft.
While Bird of Prey is not a planned Airbus product, it does showcase how advanced engineering will translate scientific advances and technology into exciting new products. The conceptual design initiative has been selected as an image to promote UK engineering by the Department for International Trade and their iconic GREAT advertising campaign.
The Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi MP, attended an Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) event celebrating the Aerospace Sector Deal: One Year On, at the AMRC Cymru, adjacent to the Airbus Broughton site. Launched on 6 December 2018, the Aerospace Sector Deal helps industry move towards greater electrification, accelerating progress towards reduced environmental impacts. This has been delivered through greater investment in research and technology, improving productivity across the sector, a focus on increasing diversity and a drive to identify the future skills needed in the sector and put appropriate workplace based opportunities and training in place. As part of the event, the Minister met with Katherine Bennett CBE, Airbus Senior Vice President, and talented Airbus apprentices to discuss Airbus’ Wing of Tomorrow project, as well as meeting regional suppliers, before taking a tour of the A350 Wing Factory with Head of Broughton Plant Jerome Blandin.
The UK-built Solar Orbiter spacecraft successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 10 February. The mission will take the most detailed images ever of the Sun and provide crucial information about how the Sun’s volatile activity affects its atmosphere. This knowledge will help improve predictions of space weather events, which can disrupt and damage satellites and infrastructure on Earth. Engineers at Airbus in Stevenage designed and built the spacecraft to withstand the scorching heat from the Sun that will hit one side, while the other is frozen as the orbit keeps it in shadow. The UK’s space sector employs around 42,000 people and carries out world-class science, while growing the economy. The UK continues to be a leading member of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU, having committed a record investment of £374 million per year in November 2019.
At an event with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP in Central London on 4 February, aviation industry executives signed a pledge committing to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, in line with UK Government targets.
Sustainable Aviation is a coalition of major UK airlines, airports, manufacturers, air navigation service providers and key business partners. Launched in 2005, the long term strategy sets out the collective approach of UK aviation to tackling the challenge of ensuring a cleaner, quieter, smarter future for our industry. On 4 February, members of the UK Sustainable Aviation coalition united behind a commitment of the industry to work together to reach net zero carbon emissions for UK aviation by 2050.
The commitment is based on a review of the opportunities to cut aviation emissions as outlined in the new “Decarbonisation Road-Map: A Path to Net Zero” launched alongside the Sustainable Aviation commitment. The road-map outlines exactly where reductions can come from, including through smarter flight operations, new aircraft and engine technology, modernising UK airspace, the use of sustainable aviation fuels, and high-quality market-based policy measures.
The “Sustainable Aviation Fuels Road-Map” was also released 4 February and identifies the specific role that sustainable aviation fuels could play in meeting the commitment. It forecasts that the UK could become a world leader in developing sustainable aviation fuels, which could meet 32% of the nation’s demand for aviation fuel by 2050.
On 8 January, the annual Airbus New Year Reception was held in London. In a keynote speech, Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury, highlighted the continued commitment of Airbus to the UK and to working with the new government on an ambitious industrial strategy. The event which celebrated Airbus’ achievements for 2019 whilst looking forward to 2020 and the new decade was also an opportunity for the new government to show support for Airbus and its divisions which are based across the length and breadth of the UK. The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, who was Business Secretary at the time of the event, attended and gave a keynote speech. She said how “proud and privileged Britain was to be one of the four Airbus home nations” and pledged continued UK support to assist the EU in negotiating a settlement with the US on the WTO dispute. Earlier in the day, Guillaume Faury gave New Year wishes at the Filton site and thanked all UK employees for their continued hard work and commitment to Airbus, referencing the start of the new decade in his address, Guillaume reinforced the four key pillars of Airbus: Safety, Quality, Integrity and Compliance.
Airbus led and sponsored the IAWA (International Aviation Women’s Association) second annual European Leadership Forum that took place in London during November. Aimed at supporting senior female leaders in the aviation industry, the forum was a great success, attracting more than 150 female leaders from the aviation and aerospace industry. There was a great range speakers including Catherine Adams, Deputy Director for Aviation Strategy & Communication, Department for Transport, Elisabeth Kotthaus, Head of Unit for Social Affairs, Passenger Rights & Equal Opportunities, European Commission and Mélanie Astles, First Female Pilot to compete in the Red Bull Air Race, plus many more. Further still, topics covered included, Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainable Aviation and The Future Talent Pipeline, with panellists discussing how we can introduce the younger generation to STEM and furthermore retain that talent. At the Forum, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter received a further 5 signatories, taking the total to 138 signatories. Airbus is proud to see continued support and commitment to the charter.
In November, small businesses, academia and Welsh government came together to celebrate 10 years of Airbus Endeavr, a not-for-profit company, set up to support SMEs and academics in their work on early-stage research and technology projects. The celebratory event was attended by Lee Waters AM, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, who said: “The Welsh Government is incredibly proud to be supporting Airbus and Cardiff University in their work with other universities and SMEs across Wales – delivering world-class research projects that address global challenges faced by industry.” Katherine Bennett CBE, Senior Vice President of Airbus also said: “I am delighted to be able to celebrate the work of Endeavr with colleagues from across business and academia today. Without our industry-leading partnership with the Welsh Government, this outstanding cooperation would not have been possible.”
Katherine Bennett CBE, Senior Vice President, was announced to be the first independent Chair of the Western Gateway when it was launched by Cabinet Ministers in November 2019.
The Western Gateway is a strategic partnership promoting and maximising economic growth across South Wales and the West of England. It aims to create jobs, boost prosperity and support the world-renowned universities and businesses in the region. Mirroring the successes of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine it will ensure the region becomes globally competitive.
Since its establishment, Western Gateway has received praise from many. In her maiden speech to the Lords, Baroness Wilcox said “I now look forward to the future of the ground-breaking collaboration across both countries…bringing breadth and depth to the model of economic growth.”
On Monday 24 February, Western Gateway launched a prospectus planning to add more than £56 billion to the UK economy by 2030 and help the region achieve a net-zero future. Mrs Bennett commented “through harnessing the Western Gateway’s innovation and geographical assets we can make a huge difference to people’s lives. We can release the untapped potential of our cities, towns and villages, and provide real amplification and additionally to existing projects, infrastructure and industrial strategies.”
The Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge touched down at its first Airbus Defence & Space site in the UK, on-boarding 20 students in Stevenage. The launch event was hosted by three times Olympic gold medallist Kriss Akabusi, and planetary scientist and winner of BBC Two’s Astronauts, Do You Have What It Takes?, Dr Suzie Imber. The Flying Challenge programme, which is the Airbus Foundation’s largest youth mentoring programme, will include 20 weekly sessions at Airbus where they will learn about space flight and get unique ‘behind the scenes’ access to satellite design and test, as well as to experts and facilities on the Stevenage site, including the ExoMars rover and Mars Yard. It is here that for the final challenge of the Flying Challenge, the students will design, manufacture and test their replica ExoMars Rover to take their 3D printed team alien around the Mars Yard. In addition, the students will also visit other local organisations to learn about the breadth of career opportunities in the STEM industry. By the time they graduate from the Flying Challenge, the students will have undertaken a wide range of specialist experiences, worked with committed employee mentors, completed a skills portfolio and worked towards a nationally recognised qualification. The UK Flying Challenge programme is also currently running at Filton in Bristol and Broughton, North Wales.
On Monday 16 September, Airbus took on a record number of new apprentices at its Broughton site, surpassing last year’s bumper total. 155 craft and undergraduate apprentices joined Airbus’ site in North Wales, with a further 37 apprentices starting at its Filton base. Airbus’ graduate programme welcomed 46 new trainee appointments in Filton and Broughton. Gavin Jones, Head of Early Careers at Airbus in the UK, said “An apprenticeship at Airbus offers paid, on-the-job training, while allowing people to continue their education to either national diploma or university degree-level.
On Saturday 30 November, Airbus held its annual Apprentice Open Day at the North Factory, in Broughton. More than 1700 budding aerospace engineers, or those simply aspiring to have an exciting career in the aviation industry attended the event, where they had a chance to speak face-to-face with Airbus’ recruitment experts. Airbus’ Employment Marketing Manager in the UK, Kath Edwards, said “Our Apprentice Open Day is a great opportunity for anyone seeking or thinking about an apprenticeship to find out more about our opportunities at Airbus.”
Airbus in the UK has taken on record number of apprentices and graduates in recent years and hopes to take on even more in 2020 as it continues to meet demands for its growing number of airline customers.
On Tuesday 10 September, Katherine Bennett CBE, Airbus Senior Vice President, signed the Women in Defence Charter, endorsing Airbus’ commitment to progressing gender diversity within its business and industry. Airbus has been instrumental in the development of the Charter and continues to champion engagement within the industry, led by co-chair of the Charter, Sophie Thomas, Zephyr Programme Manager at Airbus. The Charter is a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, Women in Defence UK, ADS, Defence Growth Partnership, industry and others, and reflects the aspiration of the defence community to improve gender balance at all levels. As a signatory, Airbus commits to promote gender diversity and inclusion by having one member of its senior executive team responsible and accountable for gender inclusion and diversity, and setting internal targets, where appropriate, for gender diversity in its senior management teams. Also at the signing was the Defence Procurement Minister at the time, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, who said: “I am proud to announce that the MOD is signing up to the Women in Defence Charter. This demonstrates an upstanding commitment to diversity and equality across all aspects of defence.” The Charter now has 40 signatories, including, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Lockheed Martin UK and many more.
Launched in 2018 at the Farnborough International Airshow, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter has now achieved commitments from over two hundred signatories and supporting organisations. Airbus was the founding signatory of the WiAA Charter and continues to spearhead its development led by Katherine Bennett CBE.
Catherine Llewellyn-Jones, an Engineering Undergraduate Apprentice at Airbus in Filton, has been selected as one of four finalists for the Graduate or Degree Apprentice of the Year category at the Enginuity Skills Awards. The competition is one of the most prestigious events in the UK, recognising talented individuals and companies whose commitment to skills development is making a big positive change in their workplace or sector.
Catherine aged 39, is a fourth year apprentice studying for a BSc in Aerospace Engineering while working in Airbus’ Wing Structures team. Prior to her career change, she worked as a secondary school teacher before moving to France to become a musician.
Within her apprenticeship at Airbus, Catherine has had the chance to work in many different engineering roles including stress analysis, fatigue and damage tolerance, finite-element modelling and aerodynamics.
Commenting on her achievement, she said “I am humbled and thrilled to be a finalist for this award. The apprenticeship course offers so many opportunities and is a great way to start a new career. Not only have I managed to work on different aircraft and disciplines, I have also been able to volunteer with STEM outreach.”
Catherine’s success came after Airbus took on record numbers of apprentices last September. 155 craft and undergraduate apprentices joined Broughton site in North Wales, with a further 37 apprentices starting at its Filton base. Airbus’ graduate programme welcomed 46 new trainee appointments in Filton and Broughton.
Airbus plan to grow their number of apprentices even further in 2020 with welcoming 1700 budding aerospace engineers to its annual Apprentice Open Day at the North Factory in November 2019.
Employees at Bristol aerospace firm Airbus have slept outside for a night to raise money and awareness for one of their charity partners, Help Bristol’s Homeless. The participants in the sleep-out have raised more than £8,000 with £5,701 donated online and £3,000 collected in off-line donations. Over 287 contributions have been made and the opportunity to donate is still open.
The employees slept outside Airbus’ Barnwell House and the historic Pegasus House. While conditions were windy they remained relatively dry and a stock of cardboard was available to supplement sleeping bags.
Marina Slee from Bristol, a Programme and Project Management Graduate at Airbus, took part in the sleep-out. She said: “I think this sleep-out is such a good idea and what a way to raise money for charity. This evening has seen people working together to support each other.”
Representatives from Help Bristol’s Homeless, Ian Fleming and Rob Earnshaw, visited the employees and discussed the experiences of homeless people in Bristol along with the importance of the fundraising and the impact it can have on the charity.
Rob, the chef at the Help Bristol’s Homeless site in Spring Street, said: “£5,000 can do a lot of things and the site has to be maintained and paid for as we are always a work in progress. We never think ‘that is the end’, the work continues.”
Ian, currently living at the site in Spring Street, said: “There are two parts to the site: the container houses and the converted bus. We are always feeding people and everything is done by volunteers including work on new projects such as an IT suite to help people access benefits.”
A porridge breakfast was donated to the participants with most returning to work at 6.30am on the morning of Friday 31 January.
Airbus’ Charity Challenge sees the company support four other charities in Bristol with a partnership that is due to run until the end of 2020. The other charities involved in the scheme at the Airbus Filton site are St Peter’s Hospice, Jessie May Children’s Hospice, Severn Freewheelers and Headway Bristol.
Apprentice Joe Smith had just started the second year of his aircraft maintenance engineering apprenticeship with Thomas Cook when news of the company’s sad demise emerged.mThe 18-year-old had spent the first year of his apprentice training attending college in Hull, while working on a Broughton-built Hawker business jet at BAE’s training centre on Humberside.
“The Thomas Cook recruitment process was tough and included practical, skills assessments and academic tests,” recalls Joe. “I was selected as one of 15 new recruits from an application list of more than 700, so I felt very privileged to be chosen. When the company went into administration, I was working in the hangar maintaining Airbus A320s and A330s. We had little indication what was happening, though we knew there were high-level talks going on to agree a rescue package. However, over the course of the weekend, it became clear things hadn’t gone well.”
Joe, who hails from Hawarden, Flintshire, decided to take unilateral action and contacted Coleg Cambria with a view to enrolling on an aeronautical engineering course.
“Thomas Cook told us about support available and some job fares that were being organised but the academic year had already started and I didn’t want to miss another year, so decided to act immediately and contact the college. It was suggested that I could be an ideal candidate for an Airbus apprenticeship, so I submitted my CV that day. I was surprised and delighted when I was contacted a few days later and invited in for an interview,” says Joe. “I was offered a craft apprenticeship in Aero Systems, starting in Year One and attending Coleg Cambria.”
Despite starting the programme two months late, Joe worked hard to catch up with his fellow apprentices and passed both his practical and academic, end-of term training in December.
“Since starting the Airbus apprenticeship, I have acquired many skills and learned new knowledge to improve my capabilities. It has so far been a fantastic opportunity to develop my skills and was very similar to the training I completed in Hull with Thomas Cook in BAE’s training facilities, but it’s much more convenient for me. I have taken a different path to my older brothers, who both decided to go to university, as have many of my friends. But for me the opportunity to learn and earn was a no-brainer and I feel lucky to have been selected as an Airbus apprentice – though perhaps unlucky to have already been made redundant at the age of 18. I would highly recommend apprenticeships, as you earn money and become independent while receiving invaluable work-related training. Once I have completed my apprenticeship, I want to carry on my education and will be seeing what my options are for further training and education, possibly completing a degree and progressing within Airbus or in the aircraft maintenance area.”
Kath Edwards, Airbus’ UK Employment Marketing Manager, adds: “We believe apprenticeships are a time-tested approach to developing well-trained, highly skilled staff by pairing on-the-job training with college or university-based learning. When our apprentices complete their training, they regularly go on to become an essential part of the workforce, ensuring we meet our business objectives.”
Airbus has run the conservation programme with the North Wales Wildlife Trust since 2011 and more than 40 mini orchards have been planted at schools across Northeast Wales and Cheshire. This year, Airbus visited six more local primary schools to plant orchards and teach about maintaining local habitats.
The NWWT’s Iwan Edwards, who runs the programme at the schools, said: “This project continues to build on the fantastic work we’ve done with Airbus over the last nine years. We’re fast approaching working with 60 schools which is a wonderful legacy not only for the children in these schools but nature in general.”
Phil McGraa, Community Relations Manager at Airbus, said: “Orchards are an important part of the Welsh landscape – not only do they provide tasty fruit which can be consumed but they offer a refuge for wildlife and create an environment that is rich in biodiversity.”
Laura Cartwight, a teacher at Ysgol Derwenfa, Leeswood, one of the schools visited this year, said: “We’re trying to develop our outdoor area so it means a lot that the children have the chance to learn how to care for it correctly.”
The other five schools visited by the Orchard Project team this year were Ysgol Derwen primary, Wood Memorial primary school, Ysgol Pen Barras, Ruthin, Drury Lane primary and Mountain Lane county primary.
The early Christmas present of non-perishable food items, such as tinned goods, dried pasta and biscuits, was handed over to Airbus Filton’s charity partner Help Bristol’s Homeless. The initiative, organised jointly with trade union Unite, encouraged Airbus employees to drop off items at five food-collection points across the Filton site. Unite also redeemed vouchers with supermarket Iceland to make a donation of breakfast items.
Chris Young, Deputy Convenor for Unite at Airbus Filton, said: “We wanted to make a contribution to Help Bristol’s Homeless in support of their Christmas Appeal. The employees here at Filton have made a terrific difference and I’m grateful for their contribution.”
Caroline Jenkinson, Change Platform Agent at Airbus, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see people sleeping rough in the cold in today’s day and age. Help Bristol’s Homeless were a natural choice being one of our five partner charities and I can only hope it will help some people this Christmas.”
The aviation lounge at Hawarden Aerodrome was transformed into a Christmas wonderland for the occasion, complete with reindeer and elves. Thirteen families boarded the Loganair ERJ 145 aircraft with Santa for the one-hour flight along the North Wales coast and over Snowdonia before returning to Hawarden.
Mum Kate Long, who was on the flight with husband Glen Lewis and daughters, Clara, two, and baby Katie, said: “It’s been magical and lovely to see their little faces light up. The reindeer and the departure lounge were brilliant. There has been so much thought gone into the day, from the glitter tattoos and the games. It’s been really nice.”
The family, from Lancashire, were nominated by Airbus Charity Partner Clatterbridge Cancer Charity where mum Kate has been a patient after learning last year that her cancer had heartbreakingly returned 10 years after being given the all clear.
Phil McGraa, Airbus Community Relations Manager, said: “It was magnificent to see the smiles on everyone’s faces, watching the children play games and sing Christmas songs on the flight. All the volunteers who gave up their Sunday thoroughly enjoyed the day just as much as the very deserving families on the flight. It was a very special day.”
The event was organised with aircraft charter firm Air Partner and airline Loganair, as well as Airbus Broughton’s five charity partners – Claire House Children’s Hospice, Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, Nightingale House Hospice, North East Wales Search and Rescue, and Wales Air Ambulance.
Europe’s biggest plane-maker held its annual Apprentice Open Day on Saturday 30th November at its North Factory in Broughton, Flintshire, where it assembles composite wings for its ground-breaking A350XWB airliner.
Airbus in the UK has taken on record numbers of apprentices and graduates in recent years and hopes to take on even more in 2020 as it continues to meet demand from its growing number of airline customers.
Airbus’ Employment Marketing Manager in the UK, Kath Edwards, said: “Our Apprentice Open Day is a great opportunity for anyone seeking or thinking about an apprenticeship to find out more about opportunities at Airbus. Visitors can speak to representatives from our Early Careers Management team, Airbus employees and our education partners, as well as to current apprentices, to find out all they need to know about the different apprenticeships on offer from degree to craft level."
The company offers two types of apprenticeships – degree apprenticeships where successful applicants have their university tuition fees paid on top of earning a competitive salary, and craft apprenticeships, where individuals work for the company while gaining a National Diploma qualification at college. Apprenticeships are available at both the Airbus Filton and Broughton sites.
Gavin Jones, Head of the Early Careers team in the UK, said: “As a global leader in the aerospace industry, remaining competitive and attracting the best young talent from the UK is a major priority. Our open day is a great opportunity for young people to learn about our benchmark apprenticeship programmes and the career paths they support.”
The state-of-the-art facility on the Airbus site in Broughton will be a catalyst for growth and jobs and provide businesses with a new level of research and development opportunities. It was officially opened by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford and Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates.
Managed by the University of Sheffield AMRC, Airbus is AMRC Cymru’s first tenant and will use the facility to develop its next generation wing technologies known as ‘Wing of Tomorrow’, part of a global Airbus investment in research and innovation.
Airbus Senior Vice President Paul McKinlay, head of the company’s Broughton Plant, said: “We’re delighted to be the first major business tenant of AMRC Cymru. The facility is world-class and the perfect home for our most significant research and technology programme, Wing of Tomorrow. The programme will inform the next generation of wings so when we launch a new aircraft programme, we’ll have the technologies and systems ready to design and build the wings at the rate we need them. The fact the Welsh Government chose this area to invest in such innovation underlines the value of the business in the region and we look forward to seeing the development of cutting-edge technologies in a range of industries as a result.”
AMRC Cymru was designed and project managed by Arup and the construction was carried out by Galliford Try.
Airbus in Filton has a rich history of designing wings for the aerospace giant’s commercial aircraft and building wings for its A400M airlifter but it’s a new set of wings that have created a real buzz among staff at its Bristol site.
The company’s estate management team (FMRE) introduced two bee colonies to provide ecological support to areas of the site transitioning from industrial to wild-meadow land. And the bees did Airbus proud - producing 100 jars of Bristolian honey at their first attempt. Darren Jones, Head of Airbus FMRE at Filton and Newport, said: “Bees are vital to our environment; without them our global food supplies would be affected. Honey bees used to pollinate 70% of the UK’s flora but now only service about half of that, due to their gradual decline. Our Filton bees settled in immediately in April, and have thrived ever since; evidenced by producing excess honey within six months of landing.”
The bees’ first batch of honey has been auctioned off to Airbus staff and has raised £532 for the company’s five partner charities - St Peter’s Hospice, Severn Freewheelers, Jessie May Children’s Hospice, Headway Bristol and Help Bristol’s Homeless, the last of which also received five jars of honey to serve up to those who use their services directly.
Rob Earnshaw from Help Bristol's Homeless said: "I’m the chef here at Help Bristol's Homeless at Spring Street Village and it is very kind of Airbus to have brought us five jars of their home-grown honey. It's a nice surprise and I’m sure the people we support will thoroughly enjoy it.”
The bees are based on development land in Filton and were brought on to the site after seeking professional advice.
Lucy King, a Technical Data Apprentice at Airbus’ site in Filton, won The Royal Navy Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year 2019 at a ceremony held at Cadbury House in Yatton, Somerset.
Lucy said: “I am very proud to have won Regional Advance Apprentice of the year for the South West. I take pride in my work and supporting others. I enjoy being part of a positive working environment at Airbus and being a role model for the other apprentices. This award is my greatest achievement to date, it highlights different activities I have been involved in, in terms of academic, onsite training and promoting STEM.”
The Awards are in their 16th year and celebrate the achievements of apprentices from a range of sectors. Lucy was shortlisted along with four other entrants in the South West and then selected as the winner by a judging panel. She is one of 74 finalists across five categories for apprentices at the national awards ceremony. The final will see a national judging panel select one national winner and two highly commended finalists in each category.
Gavin Williamson MP, Education Secretary, said: “Apprenticeships change lives, improve businesses and support local communities, so it’s great to see such a diverse range of employers and apprentices being recognised for their great work.”
Lucy has been the first Technical Data Apprentice in Filton and this role has seen her offer technical support to customers and suppliers of the aerospace company. She has volunteered in mentoring schemes such as Airbus’ Flying Challenge, which is a scheme designed to inspire local school children and help them develop life skills, and introduced new digital ways of working to help monitor apprentice wellbeing.
Joe Neath, Head of Early Careers at Airbus, said: “I am delighted Lucy’s hard work at Airbus has been recognised in this way. Lucy is always looking to improve, whether it be herself or the processes around her. The aerospace sector has a need for highly skilled and qualified specialists. Airbus apprentices working over a number of different areas are the perfect solution to meet this demand and help design and build the aircraft of the future.”
Ryan Holland, an Airbus Engineering Undergraduate Apprentice was also highly commended in the South West in The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year 2019.
Clatterbridge Cancer Charity’s scale Lego model of their under construction hospital has visited Airbus Broughton from 23 September to 7 October and has been accessible to the public. Visitors to the model that has been housed in a clear shipping container outside the Broughton Wings Sports and Social club, and further into the site, have had an opportunity to buy a brick for as little as £1. The cancer charity are hoping to raise £500,000 overall from the construction of the scale model and are also in a race to completion with the actual hospital in Liverpool. The scale model of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s hospital will be one of the largest Lego structures in the UK when complete and will be displayed in the new hospital to mark the contributions of those that funded the new building.
Ian Ogilvie, Development Manager, Clatterbridge Cancer Charity said: “It’s fantastic that we are able to host The Big LEGO Brick Hospital at Airbus’ site in Broughton and give their employees an opportunity to contribute to the building of a Lego brick replica of Liverpool's first specialist cancer hospital. It’s an ambitious project, but we are sure our dedicated supporters and the people of the region will support us with enthusiasm and generosity.”
Clatterbridge Cancer Charity are one of Airbus’ five charity partners in Broughton, as part of the company’s Charity Challenge, and they were selected by an employee vote at the Flintshire site.
Donna Harrison, Airbus Supply Chain Business Improvement Manager, said: “I am really pleased that Airbus is supporting one of the five charity partners for Charity Challenge by hosting Clatterbridge Cancer Charity’s scale hospital. Having the model here has given us an opportunity to raise awareness about the excellent work that takes place at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.”
A respite day for children and adults living with profound disabilities and life-limiting conditions saw 20 children and 14 adults from Bristol and the surrounding regions spend a day at Bristol Airport as part of an aviation-themed Air Smiles Day on Saturday 21 September. The Air Smiles Day was run by Airbus, UK aviation charity fly2help and Bristol Airport. Airbus invited 9 families from its Charity Partners to take part and families from St Peter’s Hospice, Headway Bristol and Severn Freewheelers were in attendance. An attendee that had received support from St Peters Hospice said: “It was absolutely lovely to see the children smiling, happy and enjoying themselves. They’ve had so much fun and experienced things they wouldn’t usually get to. Just knowing that they’ve had a day planned that they would enjoy and not having to think about it. It has given them something that they will always remember.”
The aviation-themed day is crafted around a flight experience in a light aircraft and for some of the young attendees this will have been their first flight in an aircraft and a thrilling experience. Members of the group included bereaved children, people living with brain injuries and children with sight-loss. The flight lasted 25 minutes and made use of three aircraft: a Socata TBM, PA-32 Saratoga and Cessna 182. The attendees took part in demonstrations from Police emergency response services, spent time with Airbus graduates where they learned more about the mechanics of flight and for those willing, had their face painted. Attendees had the opportunity to try out augmented reality facilities used in aircraft design.
Georgina Godfree, Programme Delivery Co-ordinator for fly2help said: “For over a decade, we’ve been working to create life-changing experiences for people living with illness, disability and various forms of life-trauma. The Air Smiles Day enables families to create shared, everlasting memories via the wonder of flight, for some time away from their daily struggles. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Airbus and Bristol Airport, creating Air Smiles for families from their local area – changing lives, one flight at a time.”
Jacqui Mills, Public and Community Relations Manager at Bristol Airport, said: “The Air Smiles Day is such a special day, it is a true collaboration of aviation partners working together to inspire young people. It’s a fun filled day which Bristol Airport is proud to support and help these young people forget their worries for one day and make magical memories that will last a lifetime.”
Hannah Hammond, Community Relations Officer for Airbus said: “Airbus is really proud to be part of this special day. It has been fantastic to share the inspiring power of aviation. It’s our privilege to help create some wonderful memories for the children and their families.”
New graduates and apprentices joined the aerospace giant at their site in Filton on 9th and 16th September respectively. They will be working in a variety of roles that will see them contribute to the design and maintenance for Airbus’ fleet of commercial aircraft. The new intake across Airbus’ Broughton and Filton sites in the UK is 10% more employees than 2018’s round of recruitment.
Gavin Jones, Head of Early Careers at Airbus in the UK, said: “An apprenticeship at Airbus offers paid, on-the-job training, while allowing people to continue their education to either national diploma or university degree level. The value of our apprenticeship and graduate programmes speak for themselves, with so many going on to extremely successful careers in aerospace and aviation. Indeed, many of Airbus' current senior managers started their careers through our apprenticeship scheme."
The complex nature of the aerospace industry has created a huge demand for skilled and qualified specialists in the UK and, in turn, has resulted in a competitive application process to obtain the graduate and apprentice roles that are available in Bristol.
Anna Gordun, 21, an Engineering Undergraduate at Filton, said: “I am originally from Spain and when I was 10 I visited Airbus’ Final Assembly Line in Toulouse and I thought it was amazing. When I finished High School I did not know what to study but that strong memory of Airbus motivated me to study aerospace engineering.”
The 46 new graduates in Filton will be working in both engineering roles, including landing gear and fuel systems, as well as support services, such as human resources. The 37 new apprentices will be working in procurement, supply chain and engineering roles. Among this new cohort are Plant apprenticeships, building and equipping the wings of the A400M military support plane.
One-hundred-and-fifty-five craft and undergraduate apprentices, along with 16 further graduates, have joined the aerospace company’s site in Broughton, North Wales, this week.
Trevor Higgs, Head of Landing Gear Centre of Competence at Filton and Head of Engineering UK, said: “We offer excellent apprenticeship opportunities in Filton for those wanting a paid-for engineering degree, while gaining invaluable work experience that can lead to a rewarding career. We offer the opportunity to join this big family and be proud to be part of it. It's not just about Airbus in the UK; we're part of a global company and that's not just Europe and not just commercial jets. We're more connected now. We have more transnational working and better integration and although we have our own identity, we also have the wider Airbus identity and we should continue to evolve that identity.”
Jamie Harding, 16, a Craft Apprentice at Filton from Bradley Stoke, said: “I applied for my apprenticeship due to the amount of doors it would open for me at Airbus and in aerospace. I have always been interested in flying and space and am keen to learn more about how much goes into the manufacture of aircraft.”
Bristol students take off as they celebrate their Airbus graduation
17 July 2019
A group of 20 promising Bristol Metropolitan Academy students have successfully graduated from the third cohort of the Airbus Foundation’ Flying Challenge programme.
Pupils aged 13 to 14, were offered a chance to receive a thrilling experience of the aerospace industry by Airbus’ largest youth mentoring programme. During 20 weekly sessions, the Bristol students had the opportunity to work with Airbus mentors to develop their own skills portfolio and strive towards achieving nationally recognised qualifications. Within their work at Airbus Filton, they learned about the engineering of aircraft and flight whilst taking on the challenge of building and flying their own drones.
As a reward for their efforts, the students had the chance to take to the skies for a flying lesson where they were even handed the controls of the aircraft. At the graduation ceremony, Jamie Smitheram was commended for his outstanding work by Filton’s Head of Plant, Chris Grier, and was offered the opportunity of a week’s work experience at Airbus.
Bristol born Airbus Test Pilot, Malcom Ridley, who was the special guest speaker at the graduation said that the ‘design, manufacture and maintenance’ of the ‘next golden age of aerospace’ will be perfected by pupils in the outgoing and future cohorts to come as they are the future of aviation.
Attending the ceremony, the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Jos Clark, met with the students. Commenting on their achievements she said, ‘They have obtained such great life skills from this and the overall benefit to the young people is extraordinary. You can really see how excited the new cohort are to be given this opportunity’.
David Hanson MP and Paralympic Champion Andy Lewis MBE congratulate 2019 cohort of Airbus Broughton Flying Challenge Graduates
Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP meets Airbus apprentices and graduates on a visit to Filton site
27 June 2019
Airbus welcomed Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport to its site in Filton where he had the opportunity to meet some of our talented apprentices and graduates during a recent visit to the region.
The Minister was given an insight into the site’s operations which was followed by a tour of the Wing Integration Centre and the A400M Wing Manufacturing facility where he met employees and learnt more about the highly skilled work they perform.
Airbus opens Cyber Innovation Hub at its Newport site
24 June 2019
The Airbus Cyber Innovation Hub conducts leading cyber security research in areas such as artificial intelligence, industrial control systems, human factors and safety critical systems. It is home to research incubators and accelerators, as well as CyberLab, a cyber-research initiative jointly funded by Airbus and the Welsh Government.
The collaboration and funding from the Welsh Government and Airbus will provide up to £8 million to support the programme of activity and research in a laboratory environment to develop fundamental cyber security research for key industrial requirements in advanced manufacturing organisations.
Airbus is a global leader in cyber innovation and research, and academic research units have been set up in partnerships with top universities through the Hub.
To mark the opening of the facility, Ken Skates AM, the Minister for Economy and Transport and Minister for North Wales, was guest of honour at an event at the Newport site. Dr Pascal Andrei, Airbus Senior Vice President and global Chief Security Officer; Katherine Bennett CBE, Airbus Senior Vice President for the UK; and Prof Kevin Jones, who leads the Hub, also spoke at the event.
Learning by flying: E-Fan X
27 May 2019
The Airbus E-Fan X hybrid-electric flight demonstrator marked another milestone in its development following the purchase of an aircraft in November 2018. The Avro RJ100 is currently based at a dedicated hub at Cranfield University, where the plane will be modified by a collaborative team of industry partners. A first phase of flight testing of the un-modified aircraft is to be held in the UK later this year, and in the last few months, the project has accelerated its systems design and started wind tunnel testing at Airbus Filton as of May 2019.
Today, two percent of all human induced carbon emissions derive from global aviation and this number is set to increase. The E-Fan X project demonstrates the willingness of Airbus and the aerospace industry to meet their commitment for carbon neutral growth from 2020 and the reduction of net emissions from aviation by 50% by 2050. The future of electric and hybrid-electric commercial flight relies on demonstrators like E-Fan X, where technologies can be developed and matured quickly to meet future demands.
At the opening of the 2018 Farnborough Airshow, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) would pledge £255 million to develop greener flight technologies, a share of which is now supporting E-Fan X, through the ATI-sponsored “HyFly” project.
Airbus takes Parliament to the stars
3 April 2019
Parliamentarians were taken on a journey to space and witnessed first-hand Airbus UK’s advanced space manufacturing capabilities, from the comfort of Portcullis House. Using virtual reality headsets, MPs were transported to a simulation of Airbus’ UK satellite cleanroom, where they were given a guided tour of the satellite being developed and tested before showing it in a geostationary orbit. Stevenage based apprentices were also on hand to discuss their work on building next generation satellite technology.
As the UK’s leading space company, Airbus’ military satellite communications keeps our Armed Forces safe and connected, while our civil space business provide satellites and systems for a range of programmes, including Earth observation, navigation and scientific missions.
Airbus hosts reception at National Assembly for Wales
3 April 2019
Airbus welcomed over 100 guests to the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff on 3 April, including a range of Welsh Government ministers, senior civil servants, trade union representatives, and industrial and academic partners.
This was the first reception Airbus has held at the Senedd since the formation of the new Cabinet under the recently appointment First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford AM.
The event was co-sponsored by two Assembly Members; Alyn and Deeside AM, Jack Sargeant (as seen in photo) and Newport West AM, Jayne Bryant. The Airbus sites at Broughton in North Wales and Newport in South Wales are situated in their respective constituencies.
Mr Sargeant made an address at the reception alongside the Minister for Economy and Transport and Minister for North Wales, Ken Skate AM, who both acknowledged Airbus’ achievements and presence in Wales. Mr Sargeant said:
"Locally and indeed across North Wales, Airbus is seen as the beacon for employment and apprenticeships. Members will know I’m quite often talking about the future of apprenticeships here in the Senedd. Airbus has been leading the way on this issue for years and was in fact the first UK Company to offer a higher apprenticeship with an engineering degree qualification – something we need more of here in Wales."
Eyes to the skies as BelugaXL lands for the first time on British turf
14 February 2019
The first BelugaXL aircraft made its maiden visit to the UK on Thursday 14 February. Following a fly-past over the Airbus Filton site, near Bristol, and the River Severn Bridge, the BelugaXL made its way to North Wales where it made its first landing on UK soil at the Airbus site in Broughton.The aircraft was welcomed by a number of guests at Airbus in Broughton, including employees, local school students, residents and local community groups. Following the event, a student from Hawarden Village Church School said, “I thought it was great and even better because it was a once in a life time experience. I’m really grateful!”
A total of six BelugaXL’s will enter into full service in 2025 to replace the five existing A300-600ST fleet of Beluga airlifters, but this flight marks the first time the BelugaXL has been to the UK as part of its 12-month rigorous flight testing programme which includes a visit to each of the key sites, including Broughton, to test the local infrastructure.
The BelugaXL is the future of air transportation for Airbus to support the ramp-up of A350 XWB and other production rate increases. With an extra 30% transport capacity, the XL can carry two A350 XWB wings at one time, whereas the current Beluga can only hold one. The XL, which like its ST predecessor, will transport aircraft parts, including wings made in Broughton, across Airbus’ European sites in France, Spain and Germany.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Defence Secretary, visits A400M site in Filton
7 February 2019
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Defense, and Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, recently visited our Airbus site in Filton. The Minister received key business updates from senior Airbus representatives, before being given the opportunity to see the A400M Wing Manufacturing Facility.
Throughout his tour, the Minister had the opportunity to meet with employees and see the world leading wing manufacturing that Airbus take such pride in. During this visit, the Minister was able to see how and why the RAF’s 22 A400M ‘Atlas’ aircraft are the most advanced, proven and certified airlifters available.
Airbus and SSTL finish work on revolutionary Quantum Satellite
9 January 2019
Work on the revolutionary Quantum Satellite has been completed by Airbus engineers in Portsmouth, in partnership with SSTL engineers in Guildford. The satellite will transform the way phone and broadband signals are beamed across the globe. The first of its kind, engineers will be able to reconfigure the way signals are transmitted whilst the satellite orbits the world at 36,000km. Quantum represents the satellite of the future, at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution, which will be able to adapt quickly to the constantly changing needs of consumers and smart cities.
The satellite will now be shipped to Airbus Toulouse for final assembly and testing, before it is then paired with its payload. Nicknamed ‘Chameleon’, the telecom satellite is developed as part of a partnership between Eutelsat and European Space Agency (ESA), it will operate in a geostationary orbit, about 36,000 kilometres above the surface of the Earth.
Katherine Bennett OBE gives evidence to BEIS Select Committee
28 November 2018
Katherine Bennett OBE, Senior Vice President of Airbus UK, appeared before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee to give evidence on the impact of Brexit on the aerospace industry.
Mrs Bennett outlined that due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Airbus is in a “holding pattern”, meaning that new investment has been put on hold. Mrs Bennett stressed that the current proposed Withdrawal Agreement is a positive step forward, and if it were to pass new investments could be looked at once again.
Furthermore, she made it clear that should a disorderly and chaotic no-deal Brexit happen, Airbus would have to consider its investment in the UK. Mrs Bennett added that it would not happen overnight, but future investments would definitely be at stake.
The panel was in unanimous agreement that while the Withdrawal Agreement will not take the UK back to business as usual, it represents positive progress and a move away from the uncertainty of a no-deal.
Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills meets apprentices in Filton
22 November 2018
Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, came to visit our site in Filton to meet with our apprentices and graduates. The Minister led an engaging discussion on the Apprenticeship Levy, before meeting with degree apprentices to talk over the different projects that they had been working on.
The Minister then had the opportunity to have a tour of the A400M Wing Manufacturing Facility, led by one of our graduates.
This visit gave the Minister an opportunity to see first-hand how the Apprenticeship Levy has helped Airbus and our supply-chain offer even greater opportunities to young people across the country.
Happy 10th Birthday to the Airbus Foundation!
30 August 2018
On 30th August 2018, the Airbus Foundation celebrated its 10th birthday. Placed at the heart of Airbus, the Foundation is committed to bringing together the products and people of Airbus to support the global humanitarian first-responder community and inspire the next generation as they prepare to embrace their future.
Since its launch in 2008, the Airbus Foundation has coordinated 66 humanitarian flights, delivering over 827 tonnes of aid to over 27 countries. In addition, during the very first hours of a crisis, Airbus Helicopters is able to save people from harmful situations as well as support on ground rescuers to assess emergency situations. Since 2012 495 helicopter flight hours have been chartered in 15 countries.
Strong Orders for Airbus at Farnborough Airshow
Airbus backs gender balance pledge for the sector
Airbus #PressForProgress on Gender Equality
8 March 2018
On International Women’s Day Airbus reaffirmed its commitment to gender equality by signing the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles. Airbus CEO Tom Enders said: “I am committed to ensuring that, at Airbus, we encourage equality and empower women, by recognizing and promoting their strengths and added value. This is the way to leap forward and succeed together.” Read more about Airbus’s Commitment to this using the link below:
During the week which celebrated International Women’s Day, Airbus Public Affairs Manager, Helen Swift, was a guest speaker at a Welsh Assembly event: ‘Mind the Gap - how can Wales lead the way on equal pay?’ Organised by Assembly Member Hannah Blythyn. At the event, Helen told the audience about the Airbus belief in empowering women, promoting equal opportunity and supporting greater diversity, which needs particular focus in the manufacturing and engineering sector which is a historically higher number of male employees.
We’re not yet there yet, but positive actions and events like this help us get one step closer to true gender equality.