Belfast Telegraph

Our drive takes off at Bombardier

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's biggest manufacturing company has backed the Belfast Telegraph's campaign to create 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.

Bombardier Aerospace - this week celebrating its biggest ever order after NetJets agreed to buy at least 100 Challenger aircraft for £1bn - said its own apprenticeship programme was "the biggest in Ireland".

"We welcome the Belfast's Telegraph's campaign to encourage apprenticeships," vice president and general manager Michael Ryan said.

"We recruit around 40 apprentices annually, who get the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time."

Bombardier has also revealed a £41m deal with London Air Services in Canada for five Learjet 75 aircraft.

The company this week invited schools to its premises as part of the Government's See Inside Manufacturing (SIM) programme, aimed at raising awareness of the career opportunities presented by manufacturing.

Mr Ryan said: "If we are to provide higher-value jobs for the future, we must ensure that young people gain the necessary skills today.

"By opening our doors to young people, and in particular young women, this week, we want to demystify the traditionally male-dominated engineering and manufacturing sector."

The week's activities were adapted from Bombardier's educational outreach across Northern Ireland, focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

During the week pupils were able to attend a SIM-themed careers event at W5 Interactive Discovery Centre, observe a technology and design trail at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, and see a 'Dart' model aircraft workshop.

At Bombardier's own premises, visitors were given a tour of Bombardier's fuselage manufacturing and assembly facility.

Year 11 pupils from Ashfield Girls' High School were also given a flight on a Bombardier Q400 aircraft.