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MTC apprentices reach for the skies

Project Slingshot gives apprentices the chance to build an aeroplane

High-flying apprentices studying at MTC Training - the training arm of the Manufacturing Technology Centre - are getting the chance to build major components for an airworthy light aeroplane in an initiative to give them valuable manufacturing experience.

The apprentice team is celebrating after completing the first stage of the project - a critical structure for the left wing. They plan to have both left and right wing assemblies complete over the coming weeks, along with the aircraft's fuel tanks.

Apprentices from the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry are part of a consortium that includes students at Aston University Engineering Academy and the Royal Air Force, working on Project Slingshot – the Air League’s aircraft building initiative which seeks to deliver STEM learning through building a light aircraft.

David Grailey, managing director of MTC Training, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices to put what they are learning into practice on a really exciting collaborative project, as well as gaining real insight into aviation manufacture so early in their careers."

“Learners are able to contribute the skills they have already gained through their programme while practicing additional skills such as project management and teamwork alongside other apprentices and more seasoned engineers. I have no doubt that the extra skills and experiences they are gaining through Project Slingshot will enrich their learning journey and prove invaluable throughout their future careers,” he added.

Supported by the Department for Transport, Project Slingshot will result in the manufacture of an airworthy Sling 2 aircraft for cadet and youth flying training and the delivery of Air League flying scholarships.

The project will give MTC Training's apprentices an insight into a career in aerospace and aircraft manufacture, as they gain hands-on experience by building the aircraft assemblies to a professional standard. The assemblies will be shipped to RAF Cosford for final assembly into a complete aircraft. After approval by a light aircraft association inspector the aircraft will take to the skies for its maiden test flight. The aim is that the apprentices who built it will get the chance to fly in it.

Ian Morrison, CEO of the Air League said, "The Air League Trust, in partnership with MTC Training and Aston University - where the aircraft fuselage is being constructed - are hugely grateful to our sponsors from Boeing UK, and the Department for Transport, for the very generous funding contribution, which has facilitated the ground-breaking Project Slingshot to build an aircraft from scratch. The skills and understanding this project have fostered have already seen past participants enter higher education and excellent skilled jobs, because of their demonstrated experiences and training. This is an excellent example of meaningful cooperation between the Air League Charity, industry, Government (the DfT), and premier league education partners, and is a superb differentiating factor that sets MTC Training and Aston University head and shoulders above other training providers."

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