Just before Christmas 2015, 2Excel Aviation bought the business of ATC Lasham – an MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul company) that had very recently gone into administration. With this came a host of challenges, including a depleted labour force, but most importantly a struggling reputation.

In the past four years, ATC Lasham, now known as 2Excel Engineering (2EE), has had significant boosts to the business, customer relationships are far improved, and staff morale has seen a definite increase. We invested in the 43 staff that remained when it took over, with pay rises, funding for training and investment in the site’s facilities. And, we recognised the importance of investing in people because, in return, they invest themselves into the company.

As a result, we are proud to be supporting an apprenticeship scheme for a third year. Around 10 apprentices join us each year for the three-year programme, learning the ropes of being an aeronautical engineer, living and breathing the heritage and expertise of the site and its people.

This is how is how we do it…

To select our apprentices, we operate a feeder programme in the form of a series of week-long work placements for local colleges and organisations that offer Aeronautical Engineering (or similar) in their syllabus. This week we caught up with Josh and Kim, who are both completing their Level 3 Aeronautical Engineering course at Fareham, and Farnborough college.

Josh said: “I was encouraged to apply to the 2Excel apprenticeship scheme rather than the big airlines from a mentor, because at 2EE you get chucked in straight away, and because of the variation in the apprenticeship scheme.

“I’ve always had a passion for engineering, which stemmed from my dad’s love of steam-locomotives, and at the age of 12 I flew a flight simulator at Farnborough – and that’s what inspired me to work with planes.

“I’m really enjoying the work experience week at 2EE because I’m getting to experience so much that we don’t get taught in the classroom. I’m currently working on a Boeing 737, swapping components from an old engine to the new one, working with the ‘sparkies’. I’ve liked this area so much that I’m now thinking about specialising in engines.”

Kim spoke about her aspirations: “I’m looking to secure an apprenticeship place for September with 2EE so I was really keen to have a work experience week here.

“My love of aviation came from going to Bournemouth airshow with my family when I was younger, but it wasn’t until I got my first car that I realised I was interested in the engineering side of things.

“I’ve loved the hands-on aspect at 2EE because I’ve been given responsibility and trust from the start of the week. It’s been awesome learning as much as I can and having a different mentor each day means I get to see all the varied work.”

Josh and Kim will find out in April if they have been successful in attaining a place on the 2EE’s Apprenticeship Scheme for 2020, where they could take the next steps to becoming fully-fledged Aeronautical Engineers.

#apprentice #NAW2020