Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Aviation Sector case study: strengthening links with education

As the only company in Northern Ireland engaged in the design and manufacture of large aircraft structures, and with no ready supply of local skilled workers, Bombardier has close links with all levels of learning within Northern Ireland.

All of its educational initiatives are underpinned by an 'equal opportunities' programme aimed at promoting diversity and addressing the under-representation of specific groups within its workforce.

The company is a strong supporter of STEM in education, and its award-winning educational programme, 'The Flight Experience', is directly linked to the Northern Ireland Schools' Curriculum.

The programme promotes STEM subjects to pupils through a wide variety of practical and interactive initiatives, and highlights the job opportunities available in these subject areas. As part of its educational programme, Bombardier actively supports the Government's STEMNET initiative, with over 100 employees registered as STEM Ambassadors working with schools to promote STEM.

The company has also helped produce a Thematic Unit on 'Flight' with the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Other educational initiatives supported by Bombardier include the development of a tailored WISE (Women Into Science, Engineering and Construction) programme, which offers female pupils an insight to the aerospace sector, and engineering skills training for long-term unemployed people.

The latter is part of a major employability initiative involving 70 companies, led by Bombardier, which has resulted in approximately 1,400 people in disadvantaged areas of Belfast gaining employment.

In addition, Bombardier's apprenticeship programme has been running for more than 50 years, and the company's strong engineering links with local universities helps provide an annual intake of high-calibre graduates.

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