Degree take-off for Airbus apprentice

Much better: Devon Sumner, from Doncaster, who has become an undergraduate apprentice with Airbus.
Much better: Devon Sumner, from Doncaster, who has become an undergraduate apprentice with Airbus.
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An apprentice aerospace engineer from Doncaster is urging others to follow her lead and gain a degree while earning up to £12,700 and having their fees paid by their employer.

Former Hayfields School student Devon Sumner, 21, is one of the first people to join the pioneering Undergraduate Apprenticeship scheme, set up by aerospace manufacturer Airbus UK.

The leading aircraft company runs one of the UK’s largest apprenticeship schemes and is putting 100 young people through courses based at its wing and pylon centres of excellence at Broughton, in North Wales and Filton, near Bristol.

Airbus claims its new programme which helps them study for a degree while getting hands on experience in a busy manufacturing plant is the first of its kind in the UK and offers a practical alternative to university.

Apprentices can earn £12,700 in their first year, depending on the programme and join the company pension scheme, while paying no tuition fees. They also get 25 days paid holiday, plus Bank Holidays.

The programme combines a hands-on engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship with academic study, with the aim of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree at the end of the three year programme.

Devon, who is training at Airbus and Deeside College in North Wales, said: “I really like aircraft and engineering so this is great for me. I’d thought about university, but coming here has turned out to be much better. I came along to the open day and after that, it was clear that this was what I wanted to do.”

Airbus UK’s Mark Stewart said: “Apprentices are our life blood and by investing in a range of innovative and high quality programmes we can identify and develop the future today, ensuring the continued growth of Airbus and aerospace in the UK.’’