Exeter College News Story

Date: Wednesday 15 August 2007

Announcement in record time follows Flybe signing Government Skills Pledge.

Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, today announces the appointment of Exeter College as its lead academic partner - in collaboration with Exeter University - for its new Training Academy, due to open in 2009.

The college - chosen after a comprehensive selection process that resulted in a final shortlist of eight regional providers - will, together with the University, play a pivotal role in providing the training and joint planning for the Academy's development.

In June, Flybe was the only airline out of 150 leading UK companies to sign the Government's Skills Pledge, showing its commitment to helping employees achieve the skills necessary to attain, develop and achieve their professional ambitions. The new world-class training facility at Exeter will provide a range of resources and learning solutions for employees across the airline's range of job functions and will underpin its future success. It sees Flybe working collaboratively with the local community to further improve employee skills and equip them with nationally recognised qualifications.

The partnership, which is due to commence in September, will provide additional job opportunities in the South West, in turn helping to boost the local economy. Exeter College will also benefit from the partnership, receiving a considerable boost in government funding from the Learning Skills Council each year. Andrew Strong, Chief Operating Officer, Flybe, comments: “We fully understand the importance of attracting and retaining a skilled and qualified workforce, and we have a long and proud history of developing our own staff. As the largest private employer headquartered in the South West, a good number of our staff have been with the company for many years now, giving us an enviable continuity of service, knowledge and expertise within the company. But as we grow, we need to be at the forefront of training new staff.

“Inspiration, vision, drive and direction were key elements when selecting our desired academic partner and Exeter College ticked every box. An airline cannot double in size successfully without developing its training programme too and we are confident that with the College and University on board we have set the benchmark for all airlines in the UK.”

Richard Atkins, Principal of Exeter College, adds: “We're really pleased to be able to support Flybe in this new venture. Both Exeter College and the University's expertise in education and training mean the Academy's participants will benefit from proven business track records, innovative training solutions and flexible packages to suit their needs. Exeter College is keen to be at the forefront of the skills agenda, supporting dynamic employers across the South West develop employees' skills to face the demands of any industry.” Peter Huntington, Chief Executive of GoSkills, says: “This partnership is a pioneering move on the part of Flybe and Exeter College. It is just the type of collaborative initiative we, as the Sector Skills Council for Passenger Transport, support and encourage. Flybe was recently among the forerunners in signing the Skills Pledge and GoSkills was pleased to help with their participation. We look forward to working further with Flybe and its partners to push the skills bar higher.”

Strong concludes: “Flybe's Training Academy sees us quickly following up on our commitment to the Government's new Skills Pledge and we are immensely proud to find ourselves in the situation that we're in, where in some six weeks, we are already putting our plans into action.”

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