Bristow Prepares Future Engineers with UK Apprenticeship Program

Two people work on an aircraft engine

Bristow is training the engineers of the future through the Bristow UK Apprenticeship Program, which provides participants with an opportunity to work towards a professional aviation qualification. The program helps participants gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the global helicopter industry. ​​​​​​​ 

The program has been in place for 20 years, evolving along the way to meet the demands of the industry and participants. It recently went through a major refresh by evaluating the structure and content of the training and adjusting accordingly. This is also the first time that the apprenticeship has offered a seamless route from Category A licensed Mechanic to Category B1/B2 Engineer all under the same program. This update will ensure apprentices get to the front line of engineering in the most time efficient manner.

“With this refresh, the program ensures we invest in, train and develop the next generation of aircraft engineers,” said Search and Rescue Deputy Engineering Manager Jon Watson, who has joint oversight of the apprenticeship. “Upon completing this program, students will have the necessary skills and expertise to deliver safe efficient helicopter operations, wherever their career takes them.”

“Through the apprenticeship, participants have access to world-class training and opportunities,” said Watson. “It gives them all the skills and knowledge for a successful career in engineering. The program focuses primarily on rotary engineering, but also raises awareness of future technologies in development for air mobility.”

A young person washes an airplane

Since its launch in 2002, Bristow has trained and supported nearly 100 engineering apprentices, the majority of whom are still part of the Bristow team today, which is a testament to the success of the original program, directed by Bristow Engineering Training Manager Paul Richardson.

Watson enrolled in the apprenticeship in 2006, and he credits the program for giving him a solid foundation in aircraft engineering theory, practices and hand skills. Following the apprenticeship, Watson worked at various Bristow bases, where he was mentored and guided by experienced engineers, gaining the experience and knowledge to attain his EASA B1.3 and type licenses. The training provided him with both technical and leadership skills, which helped him earn his promotion to a senior shift supervisor position. In this position, Watson further honed his professional skills and knowledge, before taking on his current role of UKSAR Deputy Engineering Manager. Through continuous career and professional development, his responsibilities now include oversight of the very program that launched his career.

“I am proud to continue this program and therefore shape the future of the apprenticeship program and future engineers,” said Watson. “I am committed to help provide the same opportunities I enjoyed to the aviation engineers of the future who will be joining us as part of the Bristow team.”

Jon Watson

Bristow Search and Rescue Deputy Engineering Manager Jon Watson oversees the Bristow UK Apprenticeship Program, which provides participants with an opportunity to work towards a professional aviation qualification. He is a former apprentice.