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Dreams realised as Newark's International Air & Space Training Institute (IASTI) launches with Boeing and Ryanair in attendance

Newark’s new international aerospace college could help the town’s young aspire to careers they had only dreamt of, as well as bringing national and global players to the table and unlocking the potential for major regeneration.

Those are the views of Tom Cartledge, chief executive of Benoy, the Newark-based world-renowned architects and masterplanners, who is co-chairman of the board that put together the bid for £25m of government money.

While the Royal Air Force is the first partner signed to Newark International Air & Space Training Institute (IASTI) Lincoln College Group and Aviation 360 are “excited to be in late-stage talks with other very significant aviation industry partners.”

IASTI and Tom Cartledge inset. (45081618)
IASTI and Tom Cartledge inset. (45081618)

Such is the interest and passion for the concept, there were 75 aviation industry national and global leaders at its launch on Friday, including Boeing and Ryanair.

IASTI Newark ­— a national first ­— is just one of several projects that can now go ahead after the £25m Towns Fund bid was confirmed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The college is enrolling for now for this year and the physical building is likely to be built on the cattlemarket with construction to begin next year for a 2023 opening, providing education and training for future pilots, astronauts, technicians and groundcrew.

He said IASTI unlocked the potential for regeneration of that Newark gateway, which includes the former county council highways depot and the lorry park.

“We are talking a potential for major regeneration ­— a much more strategic masterplan ­— and a proper commercial and office hub for the town.

“With the IASTI comes the need for student residential accommodation and there have been expressions of interest in a hotel.

“We are not going to be able to bring M&S back to the high street or to fix it in the short-term, but with this, and the other Town Bid proposals, our intent is to create long-term viability and new income streams that will themselves re-invigorate the high street in time, creating a town that we can all be proud of.”

And for the first time degree level courses would be on offer, lifting aspirations and improving on Newark’s ranking of second worst nationally for social mobility.

“Who of us didn’t dream of being a fighter pilot or landing on the moon as a child,” he said.

“Now the children in our schools can. This has the ability to have a very profound impact on the industry. It is something that really matters.”

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