25 February 2016

Former RAF Wing Commander and CEO of Lincoln College Group Gary Headland has said the city’s upcoming new air and defence college will “change the narrative around further education”.

RAF Coningsby hosted both Gary Headland and Air Commodore Chris Luck, Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell, at the Southern Typhoon Operating Base on Tuesday, February 23.

Lincoln College recently announced the launch of a new career college in air and defence for 16 to 19-year-olds, supported by The Royal Air Force.

The new college, which is also supported by top global aerospace engineering firms, represents a unique opportunity for young people to secure lucrative and rewarding careers and for the region to plug its skills gap.

Students can apply now for the Air and Defence Career College, based at Lincoln College, which will open in September 2016.

Career colleges are a new concept in learning that is backed by and shaped by industry experts. Students will be exposed to real life working environments on RAF bases and in some of the best engineering firms in the country like Thales, Raytheon and AAR Corp.

Air and defence students can specialise in engineering, computer sciences or catering. Graduates who meet the RAF recruitment criteria will be guaranteed a place on RAF Basic Recruit Training (subject to RAF selection restrictions), or be well equipped to start a career in the wider aerospace industry.

On top of their Ofsted-rated “outstanding” professional technical training, students will also take part in regular RAF fitness and adventure training, complete Duke of Edinburgh Awards, go on a residential course designed by the RAF and Royal Society of Engineers, and star performers will even get the chance to go up in a trainer jet.

The career college will put a major focus on career-ready skills like adapting to workplace culture, confidence, attitude, team building and leadership.

Lincoln College Group CEO Gary Headland said: “As a former RAF Wing Commander it makes me hugely proud to be launching our Air and Defence Career College, supported by the RAF, in Lincolnshire, a county with such a rich Royal Air Force heritage.

“This is a living, breathing demonstration of our continued intent to change the narrative around further education. “For too long it has been viewed as the poor-relation to higher education. We are offering fast-track pathways into lucrative, secure careers. For many students in Lincolnshire, this career college and others like it are the right choice for them.”

Air Commodore Chris Luck, Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell added: “This is a fantastic initiative that will provide more opportunities for young people from across the region to learn key skills that will really add to their employability.

“I am delighted that the RAF has been allowed to shape what’s on offer to the students, and to contribute important life-skills such as leadership, management and physical fitness.

“My ambition is that the Air and Defence College will be a recognised pathway for highly prepared and confident young men and women into the RAF, and industry, in areas such as; engineering, computer sciences and catering, to name but a few.”