A first look at the Airbus A318 inside the Air and Space Institute in Newark, in partnership with Newark College and Newark and Sherwood District Council
The Advertiser has taken a sneak peek inside the new Air and Space Institute (ASI) and a first look at its newest and largest training tool.
Once open in September 2024, the £15m facility currently being built just off the Cattlemarket Roundabout will offer state-of-the-art aviation training, making Newark a hub for industry expertise.
Earlier this month travelers were treated to a strange sight as the institute took delivery of a decommissioned Airbus A318 passenger jet arriving in Newark.
The jet made the long 110 mile journey up the A46 under escort from Air Salvage International in Gloucestershire on the back of a low loader, and once it had arrived was lifted into the building by Ritchie Services.
Having flown with Air France since 2004, the Airbus was only decommissioned last year and will be re-branded with Air and Space Institute logos.
It marks a major milestone for the ASI as the jet will be the main focal point of the training facility — giving students and apprentices access to a valuable education resource for engineering, flight, groundcrew and cabin crew training in a realistic environment.
Current ASI students are learning in industry-designed simulation suites from expert tutors at Newark College — which offers a range of courses and pathways into careers in aerospace.
Penny Taylor, head of Newark College, said: “This plane was bought as part of our learning programme.
“We already have a simulator and our own plane which we fly, but this is a real added bonus at all levels because it will offer that chance at a real life experience.
“We’re giving them the training that we know employers want, because we want the young people who train with us to be work ready when they leave.
“The plane will have a simulator in the front, an area for developing travel and tourism and engineers will be able to get hands on, working on a real aircraft.
“Not only that but it gives us the opportunity to open it up to existing pilots to do their flight hours with us.
“Just imagine how many aspiring young people are going to benefit and learn from this.”
Two current ASI students who will benefit from the facility once it is opened in September next year are Cody Harrison, who is studying to be a pilot, and Edward Aldridge, who is on an engineering course.
Cody said: “I’ve always had an interest in aviation and when this course came around I was in year 11 and it gave me an alternative to A-levels.
“It just fell on my doorstep and was perfect for what I wanted to do in my future career.
“I’d love to be an airline pilot and this course has been really good in giving me opportunities to fly.
“Seeing the new aircraft here for the first time is amazing, because it’s an A318 and it has all the latest technology inside.”
Edward said: “I’m on a really practical course, we spend a lot of time in the workshop, so to be able to work on an actual aircraft is another level.
“I’ve always been a practical person, so having the ability to get hands on will be amazing.
“I’m hoping to go into the RAF, I have a family history with them and finding out a lot of the ASI tutors are ex-RAF has given me a lot of insights and been a massive help.
“I’ve loved it here and so I’d definitely say go for it to anyone to try it and they will enjoy it.”
The ASI is being built with funding secured as part of the government’s Towns Fund Project by Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Mathew Spoors, portfolio holder for sustainable economic development, said: “Back in 2017 it was found that we were one of the least socially mobile areas in the country.
“What that meant was that young people didn’t get the range of educational opportunities and pathways as other areas.
“The college identified that the air and space sector is strong in this area with a lot of RAF bases, East Midlands Airport and a lot of manufacturers of machine and plane parts in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and they saw an opportunity.
“We were successful in our bid for £25m from the Towns Fund — the ASI has received about £10m of that to build this building.
“This will enhance the town alongside other projects which will be funded through the Shared Prosperity Fund.
“When the building opens we’re going to have 200 students a year coming through the college providing them with fantastic opportunities they won’t find anywhere else.
“From an economic perspective we are really excited that this is going to allow young people to stay in the area and support growth.
“There are not many places like this around and we are working very closely with the Royal Air Force, East Midlands Airport, Nottingham Trent University and the National Space Centre.
“Through this programme young people will be able to access a wide range of courses and pathways into highly-skilled and well-paid jobs within civil and military aviation both locally and nationally.
“This is going to be an ongoing positive for the area and hopefully will make Newark and Sherwood a real heart of innovation for the future.”