26 Jul 2007

New Degree guaranteed a flying start!

Dr Kate Clarke with Vice Admiral Adrian Johns, Second Sea Lord

Dr Kate Clarke with Vice Admiral Adrian Johns, Second Sea Lord

The Open University has approved the new Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Military Aviation Academy (RNFAAMAA) to deliver an OU-validated Foundation Degree Programme in Military Aviation Studies.

The degree was featured at the opening ceremony of the Academy on Wednesday July 25 at 702 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset. The Academy was opened by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Adrian Johns CBE ADC.

Dr Kate Clarke, Director of Open University Validation Services (OUVS) and a guest at the opening, said: “This partnership is a good example of what can be achieved by constructive engagement between an employer and the university.

"The Open University takes considerable pride in its partnership with the Royal Navy. As well as meeting its needs as an employer, and students needs as naval officers, this Foundation Degree also contributes to a national agenda that is aiming to raise the UK’s game in the development and valuing of higher level skills."

Commander Ivor Milne (Rtd), Project Manager for the RNFAA, said: "I have no doubt this Academy will compete successfully with any university in recruiting high calibre ‘A’ level students.

"In so doing we will give our graduates the best chance of progression to high rank in an amazingly exciting flying career. And for them it will be free of education-related debt!"

Undergraduates will join the academy, whose main campuses are at the Royal Naval Air Stations Culdrose (Cornwall) and Yeovilton (Somerset), after initial officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

The students enjoy free tuition fees, earnings of up to £25k per year paid by the Royal Navy and a guaranteed career in the Royal Navy as a Pilot or Observer of very sophisticated helicopters or fast jets. In the latter case, RAF students who train alongside their Royal Navy colleagues will also be able to take advantage of the foundation degree scheme.

After graduating from the academy with their aircrew 'Wings' and a Foundation Degree, the graduates will be appointed to front line squadrons.

Notes to Editors

The Open University is the world's first successful distance teaching university and has reached over 2.5 million people since its establishment in 1969. The Open University now has more than 140,000 undergraduate and 19,000 postgraduate students, who study at home or in their workplace. Another 19,000 people are studying for Open University validated awards.

Open University Validation Services is the part of The Open University which offers a quality assurance and validation service for higher education institutions which do not have their own degree awarding powers. Open University validated awards are conferred under the University’s Royal Charter. They are directly comparable in standard to awards made to The Open University’s own students and to other UK universities’ awards. The quality, integrity and efficiency of the processes undertaken by Open University Validation Services are fundamental to its reputation.

The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (RNFAA) is part of the Royal Navy within the Ministry of Defence. The Fleet Air Arm is the Royal Navy's air force. It numbers some 6200 people, which is 11.5% of the total Royal Naval strength, operating about 200 combat aircraft and over 50 support/training aircraft. Its helicopters and fixed wing aircraft provide the Royal Navy with a multi-role airborne combat capability able to operate independently at short notice, in all environments, day and night, over the sea and land. RNFAA also operates search and rescue in Cornwall and at Prestwick Airport.

The Fleet Air Arm, at its bases at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall and RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset is responsible for training RN Officer Aircrew in a variety of roles. Since 2001, the RNFAA in conjunction with the Open University Credit-rating Service have offered a total of 320 (HE Levels 1 and 2) OU credit-rated courses divided into 5 pathways/streams, each representing a different aircraft type and associated warfare discipline. The credit-rated scheme, known as 'Flying Start' within the Military Aviation Academy, has been running successfully for 5 years.

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