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Piper launches aircraft-assembly apprentice programPiper launches aircraft-assembly apprentice program

The first group of apprentices in a two-year training program launched by Piper Aircraft has begun attending classes and receiving hands-on training in fabrication and aircraft assembly skills.

A Piper M350 cabin-class aircraft is on display during EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23, 2018. Photo by David Tulis.

The nine apprentices, who are on a track to qualify as journeymen in aircraft assembly, are taking their courses as paid Piper Aircraft employees with full employee benefits, Piper said in a news release.

“The Piper apprentices are part of a high-tech version of the ancient tradition of apprentices learning a trade requiring specialized skills by working with an experienced professional. This program provides the necessary training, mentoring and support enabling apprentices to successfully pursue a long-term career with growth opportunity as a Piper employee,” said Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott. “As we look to the future and consider our current aircraft sales and order backlog, the apprentice program will help ensure that Piper has a strong and agile workforce for the years to come.”

Piper announced the apprenticeship program in October 2018, having recently booked orders to manufacture more than 200 aircraft. At the time, Caldecott noted that he considered the on-the-job training initiative a major accomplishment to bolster the company’s workforce growth in Vero Beach, Florida. Piper said it expected to double the number of apprentices with a new class in 2020.

The application period for the 2020 class will open in January. The application is available on the Piper website under the Careers tab. Questions may be emailed to Piper Aircraft.

AOPA reported in an August 2019 Flight Training magazine article on trends in delivering the hands-on education needed to prepare a skilled workforce in the aviation trades, highlighting the program of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, where students at the main Pittsburgh campus earn an associate degree in 21 months. Non-degree-seeking students can earn a certificate in 16 months at PIA’s campuses in Youngstown, Ohio; Hagerstown, Maryland, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Topics: Aviation Industry, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Career

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