Paul Bedford is ready to support a new era of growth for Marshall Skills Academy, having joined the growing team of trainers ahead of a record apprentice intake.
Since joining Marshall Skills Academy in March 2023, Paul has been delivering theory instruction to apprentices.
Paul started in aviation in 1985, joining British Aerospace (now BAe systems) as a craft apprentice at the Hatfield facility, following in the engineering footsteps of his father and grandfathers.
He had an initial setback after failing the maths test, but was given another chance due to his mechanical aptitude. This was a good life lesson for Paul, and has enabled him to engage with apprentices during interviews and outreach events. Using himself as an example, Paul is keen to motivate young people to keep trying, even if at first they fail to get into the industry.
Paul spent a year at BAe’s Astwick Manor Apprentice Training Centre being trained in detail fitting, sheetmetal work, woodworking, welding, milling, turning, electrical and engineering drawing. This was followed with mentored instruction in the workplace and an accompanying college course completing airframe and systems fitting qualifications. Paul was awarded the City and Guilds Medal of excellence.
On graduation, Paul worked on sub assembly and final assembly of the BAe 146 aircraft. He then moved to the company’s Manchester facility and, as part of an outworking team, travelled around the UK supporting production at other BAe or Airbus sites such as Broughton, Woodford, Chadderton, Dunsfold and Brough, or RAF stations at Brize Norton, St Athan and Kinloss. This included new build, structural repair, conversion and maintenance work on the VC10, Nimrod, Sea Harrier, Harrier T8, Harrier 2/AV8B, Goshawk, Hawk, A320 family, A330, A340.
After redundancy Paul worked in a range of roles including contracting and building satellite launch vehicles. He eventually arrived at the now disbanded Monarch Aircraft Engineering in 2001, where he worked on the A320 family, A300, A330, B757, B767 and various engine types. Given his extensive experience, he was asked to become a lead engineer and apprentice mentor, and help with the annual recruitment of new engineering talent.
Thanks to his aptitude for this kind of work, a move to Monarch’s training academy soon followed and – after 27 years spent on the tools – Paul became a workshop instructor, delivering basic hand skills training, structural repair courses and EASA A licence theory modules to apprentices and engineers at the company’s Luton, Manchester and Birmingham facilities. He gained assessor and IQA qualifications and increased his responsibility as the workshop manager.
Paul enjoyed this rewarding role, as it enabled him to put something back into the industry and pass on his life skills and experience while engaging and encouraging the apprentices. Paul likes to follow the progress of past graduates, and he is still asked for character references to help with career progression.
Paul had been aware of Marshall’s apprenticeship and hand skills quality after encountering former Marshall apprentices. After a period as a workshop instructor and Apprenticeship Standards Assessor with a couple of other training providers, he decided to join the Marshall Technical Training Team.
Paul is looking forward to being part of the Marshall Skills Academy’s growth plans and playing an active role helping train world-beating apprentices to the high standards the industry requires and expects.
If you’re interested learning more about Marshall Skills Academy’s apprenticeship programmes, visit marshallskillsacademy.com/apprenticeships.