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26 May, 2006 - 17:26 By Staff Reporter

Sky’s the limit for aerospace students

Bedford College and the University of Hertfordshire are flying high with the UK’s first foundation degree in aerospace and defence systems.

The accessible degree will make successful students ideal candidates for aerospace, defence or satellite-related jobs in the future. It will also provide them with a flight plan which could take them up to a Masters degree at the internationally recognised Cranfield University.

Students who enrol on the course may also be eligible for a £1,500 bursary.

Programme leader and former RAF chief engineer Phil Plumley said: "There has been nothing like it before. It can take a National Diploma 18-year-old on to a two year degree-level course and at the same time provide them with real work experience across a whole range of careers in aerospace and related industries.

"They can cap it off with a final year to achieve a BSc from the University of Hertfordshire at Hatfield and after that even a Masters at Cranfield University.

"One of the advantages of a foundation degree is the access to real work experience: Many of our employer contacts are very interested in the students who will be produced by this course as some struggle to get the right people."

The aerospace engineering department has unrivalled contacts with key employers such as Monarch, Marshall’s, Bonus Aviation, ARA, the Shuttleworth Collection, EasyTech and many more.

Bedford College is a leading regional training centre for aerospace. It has run aerospace courses for many years and recently took delivery of a new Jetstream 31, which allows students to work on the engine and fuselage of a pressurised cabin aircraft.

This aircraft meets CAA requirements for key types of training necessary for much needed commercial airline industry engineers.

Entry qualifications for the foundation degree are 80 UCAS points – eg a relevant national diploma – plus GCSEs in maths, English and a science, or A Levels or an AVCE in physics, maths or engineering.

Places are limited and four have already been taken by existing College engineering students – ring Phil Plumley on 01234 291521 or email pplumley [at]

Also an Open Day will be held on June 6 at the aerospace department at the College campus in Cauldwell Street, Bedford. For details go to

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