Apprentice Hal Willis – a member of the IAC (Industry Apprentice Council) – has been flying high in the world media spotlight at the launch of the Airbus A350, the revolutionary aircraft that he helped build.

Hal, aged 20, an apprentice aeronautical engineer at the company’s Filton base near Bristol, gathered with colleagues to watch a live transmission of the passenger jet’s maiden test flight.

The £9billion project will secure thousands of jobs in the UK and France for many years to come.

BBC and ITV news crews featured Hal’s reaction to the successful flight from Toulouse.

“A lot of work – arduous hours - but it’s worthwhile when you see something like this today. It’s fantastic,” Hal told BBC News.

The aircraft, constructed from a combination of metal and carbon, promises to maximise fuel efficiency utilising its unique body design with powerful new generation Rolls Royce engines made in Derby.

Hal is one of 14 members of the IAC (Industry Apprentice Council) that was launched at a House of Commons reception last month (May).

The IAC is supported by awarding organisations EAL and IMI Awards to give a voice to the new generation of talented young people that have embarked on a vocational path to a rewarding career in industry.

Ann Watson, MD of EAL, said: “Hal has played a pivotal role establishing the IAC, which speaks volumes for his passion and commitment to giving young apprentices a voice.

“Hal is a terrific role model for those thinking about a career in industry. He should be immensely proud to have a hand in building such an extraordinary aircraft.”

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