North Suffok Skills Academy is set for take-off

Plenty of interest as the North Suffolk Skills Academy at Halesworth links with the aeronautical eng

Plenty of interest as the North Suffolk Skills Academy at Halesworth links with the aeronautical engineering industry. - Credit: Archant

Engineering at the North Suffolk Skills Academy (NSSA) in Halesworth is about to take off.

The opportunities for youngsters in this area to learn engineering skills will be among the best in the country says Mark Attenburrow, assistant head teacher at Bungay High School, who is leading the NSSA initiative.

The initiative includes links with: BAE Systems (Marham), The Light Aircraft Association, The Light Aircraft Company, The Royal Aeronautical Society and Coventry University.

The North Suffolk Skills Centre situated on the old Halesworth Middle School site is about to go through a re-branding exercise and will be known from September as the North Suffolk Skills Academy.

“This is far more than a name change however, as Bungay High School will be taking over the running of the centre from September 2013 and will work closely with its partner schools to launch and develop an exciting curriculum package. Part of this will include the introduction of Aeronautical Engineering,” said Mr Attenburrow.

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The aim of teaching aeronautical engineering at both L2 (GCSE – 14-16 year olds) and L3 (A Level equivalent – 16-18 year olds) will be to develop the highest level of engineering skills in youngsters in a context that makes engineering exciting and fun to learn.

To realise this initiative, Bungay High School is equipping the aero engineering workshop with new tooling including centre lathes, sheet metalwork tools and TIG welding equipment.

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The ICT facilities are being upgraded to allow students to access the latest operating programmes and learning support resources.

“This challenge has been answered in full by the new management team and considerable investment is now planned and will be in place for September this year,” said Mr Attenburrow.

Practical and educational support has been offered by BAE Systems, a global Aeronautical business.

he Aeronautical Engineering Department wants to educate students to the exacting standards required by the aircraft industry. BAE Systems have appointed a ‘School’s Ambassador’, Baz Reed, to support this initiative, who’s input and ideas have already proven invaluable.

BAE Systems will support the programme and their staff will be involved in assessing student work and planning the learning journey to ensure the highest industrial standards are met by the students. The company have also offered a range of opportunities that will enrich student learning such as visits to the Tornado aircraft maintenance facility at RAF Marham and support in providing aircraft parts for students to work on.

The aeronautical engineers intend to build a Sherwood Ranger aircraft. This will allow students, guided by experienced mentors, to work on a real project.

This ambitious project will work closely with Mr Paul Hendry-Smith owner of The Light Aircraft Company and staff at Little Snoring, Norfolk. NSSA will put the seed capital up to get the project started and additional sponsors will be invited to join the project.

Although not all students will aspire to be aircraft engineers, this new initiative will prepare students for further study and work, be it apprenticeships, courses at college or university. With the development of off-shore wind turbines, EDF potentially developing the generating capacity at Sizewell as well as other established engineering companies and projects in East Anglia – engineering skills are going to be very much in demand.

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