More than 100 guests helped celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the International Aviation Academy, on the Norwich Airport industrial estate, a stone’s throw from the airport terminal in Hellesdon.
And academy chiefs want curious Hellesdon residents to know that the academy is open to the public during the week.
The birthday guest list included senior RAF officers, MPs, local councillors and members of the local aviation, education and business communities. Also taking part were more than 70 air cadets.
Keynote speakers included Norwich North MP Chloe Smith who has, since 2016, supported a seven-point aviation skills manifesto, developed by the Aviation Skills Partnership (ASP), which the partnership used to get the academy project off the ground.
The project was made possible by Norfolk County Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Norse Group, plus supporting partners Norwich City Council, Norwich International Airport, KLM UK Engineering, University of East Anglia, City College Norwich and WT Partnership.
Although the academy has been open for a year, and is already used by hundreds of students, many local people are still unaware of its existence – or the fact that it is open to the public.
Designed from the outset to inspire people into the world of aviation, the building is actually a World War Two aircraft hangar, which has been transformed into a revolutionary learning environment.
The atrium, with its giant TV screen, displays of aircraft engines, models and aviation art, along with the SkyLounge Café, is open to the public from Monday to Friday.
The cornerstone of the academy concept, and what makes it unique, is that practical and academic learning are based in the same place – the academy houses a complete, fully-functional, Boeing 737 airliner.
In the near future further partnerships with training providers and aviation businesses will see more aviation opportunities for students – not just in engineering.
The culmination of the anniversary event was the cutting of a cake made especially by the academy’s own Norse Catering SkyLounge team.