Aviation firm’s scheme gives pupils a boost

New apprentices and students begin their respective careers in aviation at Sapphire Aviation in Lee on the Solent. (left to right), Kirsty Frampton, Lewis Wintle, Olivia Hammond, Steve Ford who owns Sapphire Aviation, Nigel Duncan who is the Principal of Fareham College, and Chris Duffy, with Dom Truslove[cor]'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132073-1)
New apprentices and students begin their respective careers in aviation at Sapphire Aviation in Lee on the Solent. (left to right), Kirsty Frampton, Lewis Wintle, Olivia Hammond, Steve Ford who owns Sapphire Aviation, Nigel Duncan who is the Principal of Fareham College, and Chris Duffy, with Dom Truslove[cor]'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132073-1)
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SKILLED youngsters are flying high amid the growing hustle and bustle at Daedalus airfield.

Four former Fareham College students are now working for Sapphire Aviation, at the airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Chris Duffy, 18, of Madden Close, in Alverstoke, Gosport and Dom Truslove, of Grevillea Avenue, in Titchfield, want to be licensed engineers.

Working at the firm, towing and cleaning aircraft, they are getting a start in the industry.

Both study aerospace engineering at the college, with Chris just finishing and awaiting his results and Dom with a year left.

Chris said: ‘I’m lucky to be in aviation straight out of college.

‘At such at young age, it’s a good start, and I’ve still got plenty of years ahead.’

Both budding engineers are joined by Olivia Hammond, 18, of Gosport, and Jo Wickenden, 19.

The pair did cabin crew courses at the college and work at the cafe at Sapphire Aviation.

Each of the four works one day a week, alternating on Saturday and Sunday in their pairs.

Olivia said: ‘A lot of people come in and they’re pilots at airlines – they give me advice on different airlines.

‘Because I’ve finished college and I’ve had some experience of working in the aviation industry I think now I want to get on and start flying.’

Two final-year undergraduates are also working on the operations side at the company.

Lewis Wintle, 20, of Seafire Road in Cherque Farm, Lee-on-the-Solent is spending his summer break from the University of Leeds at Sapphire, and Kirsty Frampton, 22, lives in Crawley and is at the University of Surrey doing aerospace engineering.

Steve Ford is the founder and managing director of the firm.

He said he hopes to work further with the college after it completes work on the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training on site.

He said: ‘We want to offer hands-on experience for apprentices.

‘We would then look at taking on apprentices. At the moment we’re one step ahead.’