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Affinity supports Apprenticeships Parliamentary Fair

Posted 7 February 2024

Affinity Flying Training Services (Affinity) participated in the annual Apprenticeships Parliamentary Fair yesterday, coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week.

Above: Jonathan Gullis MP meets Affinity Apprentice Joe Burton.
Courtesy Affinity

Following success at the 2023 event in which Affinity attended as a visitor, this year saw the company return to exhibit alongside aerospace and defence industry firms and organisations such as Manchester Met and World Skills UK.

Representatives from Affinity met with Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan as well as the Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships, Charlotte Nichols, MP and Jonathan Gullis, MP.  
Affinity plays a pivotal role in advancing pilots through the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) delivering over 60,000 flying hours since 2016. With a strong presence in the UK, Affinity operates from RAF Barkston Heath, RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and the RAF Valley in North Wales. The company contributes to the UK’s thriving aerospace sector, through offering job opportunities for both local professionals and aspiring young talents.
Affinity continues to support promising individuals to gain further qualifications including taking aircraft technicians and drivers to fully qualified and CAA-certified flight engineers. Affinity’s presence at the event underscores its commitment to its apprenticeship scheme in which it creates promising career pathways that draw local talent from the respective communities in which it operates. Its dedication to encouraging careers in aviation is evidenced through its collaboration with the Air and Space Institute in Newark and The Air League Scholarship programme.  
The event, hosted by Charlotte Nichols and Jonathan Gullis, was organised to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week to drive discussions on how to strengthen opportunities for not only young people but also for professionals seeking new career progression and direction. Affinity engaged in discussions with fellow esteemed employers, academic institutions and apprentices, on the challenges of the current system and how to overcome barriers to foster new generations of talent within the aerospace sector.  
Alex Davison, Business Operations Director at Affinity, said: “Our apprenticeship scheme plays a pivotal role in cultivating talent by providing hands-on experience and targeted training, fostering a skilled workforce that contributes to enhanced productivity within an organisation. This structured approach not only develops individual capabilities but also generates a positive ripple effect on the overall business, as apprentices bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a strong work ethic to the table.

"The government’s approach to supporting businesses with apprenticeships is good but not perfect. It was therefore useful to discuss some of the challenges that we face with likeminded employers and senior parliamentarians.”  
Joe Burton, an apprentice at Affinity who attended the fair, said: “The Apprenticeships Parliamentary Fair highlighted the significance of championing alternative career pathways, supporting not only young professionals, like myself, in finding a suitable career direction but also empowering existing professionals to explore new horizons. As an apprentice at Affinity, I've been granted an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow within a team working at the forefront of aerospace innovation."

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