Cadets, staff and VIP gathered at the National Aerospace Camp on Wednesday to witness the official beginning of the Aaron Academy project.
Air Marshal Stu Atha, Deputy Commander Operations, and Simon Witts, CEO of the Aviation Skills Partnership, planted the boundary post for the new academy to be built at RAF Syerston.
The project, a joint venture between the Aviation Skills Partnership and the RAF Air Cadets, was officially launched as part of the National Aerospace Camp VIP Day.
Air Marshal Atha took time to chat to cadets after the ceremony.
The ceremony, hosted by Group Captain John Middleton, Officer Commanding 2FTS, marks the beginning of a multi-million pound project to develop an aerospace academy that aims to inspire young people into the aviation industry through practical application.
Air Vice Marshall ‘Bunny’ James, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 22 Group, took to Twitter to describe the day as “the start of something big”.
Other guests at the ceremony included the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Mike Wigston, as well as Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville, Honorary President 2FTS, and assembled representatives from partners in the Aaron Academy project.
AVM James chatting to QAIs about his role as AOC 22 Group.
The cadets themselves had a packed programme for the day. They took part in drone workshops, a National Space Centre master class and visited RAF recruiting and engagement stands set up for the day. There was also a gliding programme on offer for the cadets, and most got the chance to fly in a visiting Chinook.
During the day, Qualified Aerospace Instructor (QAI) cadets escorted the VIPs around the camp. The VIPs chatted to cadets under training, and saw the facilities on offer to cadets.
Many were impressed by the diversity of training on offer, as well as the intensity level the cadets were able to cope with. Commandant Air Cadets said she was “humbled and incredibly proud” of the development of the National Aerospace Camp.
Cadets took part in a STEM masterclass with a team from the National Space Centre.
Speaking after the ceremony Wg Cdr Mark Brayford, National Aerospace Camp Commandant, said: “The VIP day was a great chance for the National Aerospace Camp to demonstrate to RAF Senior Leadership and experts from industry what we do here.
"The cadets showcased their abilities and the opportunities on offer, all whilst playing their part in the ceremony to mark the beginning of the Aaron Academy project.
"We’re proud to have played a part in that, and look forward to seeing how we can work closely with the Aviation Skills Partnership in the future.”
VIP guests, National Aerospace Camp staff and cadets all gathered for the boundary marking ceremony.