Apprentices Fly High at Vector Aerospace UK

Apprentices at Vector Aerospace UK (Vector -, a leading provider of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, have showcased their skills and future potential by completing a unique engineering challenge set by the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super- Mare, UK.

The company, renowned for delivering market-leading MRO services, is one of the few in the UK to have run an effective apprenticeship scheme dating back to the 1940s when the Ministry of Defence owned the site. The current cadre, which numbers almost fifty trainees, is committed to a three year programme of structured development, underlining Vector Aerospace's commitment to the sustained development of a highly skilled workforce.

From the company's Fleetlands site in Gosport, a group of apprentices were tasked with manufacturing a horizontal tailplane unit and endplate for a Fairey Ultra-Light Helicopter. The aircraft, originally manufactured in 1955, was conceived as a low-cost, two seat reconnaissance platform but only 6 were made following the introduction of the 'Wasp'.

An enthusiast discovered one of the aircraft in the late 1960s and donated it to the helicopter museum a decade later. A global hunt for spares came up short when it came to the tailplane unit, which is when Vector Aerospace's apprentices were contacted.  Without detailed plans the apprentices were forced to draw inspiration entirely from photos and anecdotal accounts in order to develop the new structure.

"This was a tremendous opportunity for the apprentices to learn first-hand many elements of aircraft MRO, utilising, developing and learning skills that will be so important in their future careers", said instructor Martin Hounsell.  "Making this from scratch with no drawings is an outstanding achievement and something the training school can be rightly proud of".

Vector Aerospace annually takes on around 10 new apprentices and the unbridled success of the scheme is set to see it continue long into the future.  Claire Silvester, HR Director at Vector Aerospace UK, said, "The company is immensely proud of its historic and continued investment in Britain's bright young people and given the challenging economic environment Britain faces, there has never been a more important time for UK industry to support our country's future skills base."

About Vector Aerospace   Vector Aerospace is a global provider of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services. Through facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, South Africa, and Kenya Vector Aerospace provides services to commercial and military customers for gas turbine engines, components and helicopter airframes. Vector's customer-focused team includes over 2,700 motivated employees.

More information can be found on the company's website at