Investment in collaborative engineering skills

British engineering talent has united at a new £15.6m training academy, claimed to be the UK’s biggest single investment in aerospace skills.

BAE Systems has opened The Academy for Skills & Knowledge (ASK) which sits on the Lancashire Enterprise Zone. Alongside the company’s site at Salmesbury, Lancashire, the Academy will provide world-class learning facilities for hundreds of apprentices and graduates, and provide lifelong training for its 10,000 strong workforce. The 7400m2 flagship building will also act as a collaborative skills hub for manufacturing and engineering- an objective already being achieved, through its physical construction: it is naturally ventilated, using technology from Blackpool-based Gilberts.

To help achieve the BREEAM target of ‘very good’ for the scheme, main contractor ISG chose Gilberts to supply the natural ventilation in key areas of classrooms, meeting and conference facilities, and the aircraft hangar.

A combination of 180 Mistrale 75 units, each 0.6m x 2.3m, and a further six Mistrale 75 units of 1.8m x 11.0m have therefore been incorporated into the building façade. Gilberts’ engineered each unit with its high performance WPZ glazed in weather louvres externally; the large units, integrated into the hangar, also feature K40 internal grilles, in which the louvres have been angled at 40°pitch to optimise fresh air flow into the vast internal space.

John Sandison, project manager for ISG’s UK Construction North business, observed, “Supporting high quality regional suppliers is something we are extremely passionate about, especially when they are amongst the leaders in their field of expertise, like Gilberts. The company’s ability to design, manufacture and validate bespoke products, which was especially useful with the size of some of the intakes at ASK.”

Gilberts is unique in its ability to engineer components- be it standard or bespoke- entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply. It also has one of the most technically-advanced in-house test centres in the country- which it designed and built using internal resources- at its 90,000sq ft Blackpool headquarters.

Founded 57 years ago, the family-owned company has grown to become the UK’s leading independent air movement specialist.

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