Apprentice joins mission to Mars testing

From left: Phil Bateman, Ed Smith and Rob Selby
From left: Phil Bateman, Ed Smith and Rob Selby

A 17-year-old apprentice has joined a team of rocket scientists to help fire satellites into space.

Ed Smith has been taken on by Moog Inc, which is based at Westcott Venture Park and fires up to 14 rockets skywards in testing each day.

The American-owned company is currently working at the site between Aylesbury and Bicester ahead of an interplanetary mission to Mars.

Ed was selected as Moog’s apprentice and will now assist with the manufacturing of fuel injectors while earning a NVQ Level 3 qualification.

Ed said: “I really like being able to do a practical course knowing that I’m working towards a qualification that will help me in a job that I’ve already secured.

“Rather than sitting in a classroom reading text books that are not relevant to my work and ambitions.

“I would be very bored if I was doing that!”

Park manager Nigel MacKenzie said: “Ed is following in the footsteps of a long line of apprentices who are still working at the park today.

“It is a tried and tested method and we are strong advocates of park tenants employing apprentices to solve our engineering skills shortage with home grown talent.”

Moog’s site operations manager Rob Selby said: “We are lucky that we have a huge wealth of experience in the long standing members of staff here at Westcott and it is important that we couple this with new graduates and apprentices.

“To not only develop our future propulsion engineers but to provide a strong foundation from which to grow.

“Recruiting personnel with the right practical and technical skill sets for propulsion engineering is a difficult challenge but we are looking to the future with the help of ATG Training in Aylesbury who offer Mechanical Machining and Engineering Apprenticeships.”