The first class of nine paid apprentices began their two-year journey in 2019 and coincided with Piper orders driven by more than 250 training aircraft through contracts with Fanmei Aviation Technologies in China and ATP Flight School in the United States. The aircraft fabrication program for apprentices grew to 20 the following year.
Piper CEO Simon Caldecott launched the program with the intent to train aircraft fabrication and assembly workers during a hands-on, two-year initiative at the manufacturer’s Vero Beach, Florida, assembly line. The inaugural group of Indian River State College students who joined the initiative will complete their two-year stints this summer.
The 2021 apprenticeship class will be the manufacturer’s third group when their training begins in August. Potential apprentices can attend virtual information sessions March 10 at 6 p.m. Eastern time, March 30 at 7 p.m., April 8 at 8 p.m., or April 20 at 7 p.m.
The information sessions will provide program details and answer questions about work schedules, college credit, benefits, expectations, and the application process. Piper said the online sessions will be available via smartphone, tablet, or home computer.
At the end of the program, the apprentices will qualify as aircraft assembly journeymen after completing a combination of on-the-job training, classroom instruction, and mentorship.
The longtime aircraft manufacturer counts more than 37,000 aircraft produced since 1937 and currently has about 1,000 workers making the company’s 13 aircraft models, which range from the M600/SLS turboprop with Garmin Autoland technology to the Pilot 100 and 100i line of normally aspirated three-person single-engine trainers. The application deadline is May 28.