Ex-military training instructor, Adrian Bridger joined 2Excel Engineering in March as our new Training Manager. Adrian’s ambition in his new role is to pass on his years of knowledge and experience within the industry to others. He is currently leading on our apprenticeship scheme and ensuring that our workforce and the company are supported with essential training requirements.

We spoke to Adrian to find out more about his experience within the aviation and engineering worlds.

“I joined the RAF as a mechanic, later training as an aircraft technician based out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.  

Looking back on my military career, I moved around a lot; I was posted out to Germany to RAF Laarbruch to work on the Buccaneer fleet and spent time at RAF Cosford, RAF Kinloss in Scotland supporting the Nimrods, and finally RAF Coningsby working on the Tornados. I saw a lot of the world during that time and was particularly interested in the diverse cultures there are to see and immerse yourself in. 

I left the RAF in 1992 after 13 years of service, aged 30. I went to Saudi Arabia with British Aerospace to train Saudi air Force personnel on Tornados and to look after their aircraft. In the early ‘00’s, I was working in Perth, Scotland, as a Part-66 Basic Instructor and later progressed to Examination Manager –carrying out examination on behalf of the CAA. 

I later met my partner, who at the time lived in Worthing. In December 2006, I moved South and accepted a role with Thomson Airways (now TUI), based out of Luton. I joined as a Type Instructor on the Boeing 737, focussing on Avionics and carried out Human Factors, Fuel Tank Safety and EWIS courses. I left the company is 2013 to progress a career with British Airways, joining the company as an instructor on the Dreamliner for three months, before moving into the Part 147 as the Examinations and Compliance Manager. I was with the company until I joined 2Excel. 

When the Training Manager role came up at 2Excel, I was very interested as it’s the type of role I’ve aspired to have and have worked up to over many years, and I had worked with apprentices in previous roles. 

After four decades spent in aerospace engineering, I have a lot of experience to pass on to others, in particular, helping direct and guide apprentices and their future plans. I believe that we, as people, need to continually train and learn and this is my passion in the workplace.  

I started with 2Excel in March this year and quickly came to realise that we’ve got a good bunch of people at Lasham and the apprentices make the company dynamic. Currently, we have a full programme running: we have four apprentices already finished and are employed in Improver roles with the company, the Year 3’s will finish in January after being extended due to Covid and the Year 2’s are due to finish September 2022. There was no intake in 2020 due to Covid, but we have already offered places to six candidates who have accepted for the September 2021 intake. 

Although our scheme is open to a small group of apprentices, compared to other engineering companies, what make us attractive and unique is the range of hands-on experiences on offer, including our extensive backshop capabilities such as NDT. A student will typically be placed with a mentor for around a month at a time, and will rotate around the site to gain a wider understanding of the business and will spend time with different departments. 

My primary focus is to support the apprentices by taking an active role in developing their skills. It’s important to have an ‘open door’ policy, be visible and build rapport with the students. I enjoy seeing how our students develop over time and throughout the process, some achieving NVQ level, but the sky really is the limit.  

The short-to-long term vision for the Training department is to attain an Apprenticeship Accreditation to allow us to deliver the complete package for the apprentices instead of sending them to college. We are also looking to attain Part-147 accreditation from the UKCAA so we can teach approved type training to both our staff and externals to have a revenue stream coming in. I will also be working with Compliance to bring mandatory courses such as HF, FTS and EWIS back in-house at some point in the future. There is a lot of opportunity at Lasham and I look forward to seeing what we can bring to fruition.”