On 7 December, L3 Commercial Training Solutions (L3 CTS) held its largest annual pilot graduation ceremony to date, celebrating the achievements of 355 pilots.

Held at Dibden Manor, L3’s selection centre, the ceremony was hosted by Acting President of L3 CTS, Robin Glover-Faure, and featured a speech from Captain David Morgan, Head of Flight Operations at easyJet.

Glover-Faure highlighted the success of L3’s university partnerships, noting 51 of this year’s graduates had also studied for a degree (37 with Middlesex University – up from seven last year – and 14 with Bucks New University).

The graduation ceremony also featured a prizegiving, with two new easyJet employees, Jake Hingston and Michael Benaron, receiving the L3 Airline Academy Graduate of the Year award for the MPL and ATPL respectively, along with a £1000 cheque.

Other awards included the AQC Graduate Pilot of the Year, which went to easyJet’s Pierre Yves Delille; the easyJet Cadet of the Year 2017, which was received by Thomas Robinson; the L3 Academy Award for Theoretical Knowledge, won by easyJet’s Andrew Westlake; Modular Graduate Pilot of the Year, received by Royal Brunei’s Martin Gourrin; and the Special Award for highest achievers from Middlesex University, which went to easyJet’s James Rose and Jet2’s Albert Livingstone.

L3 CTS works to place graduates into employment, with a high proportion of this year’s graduates already having been selected for positions across 14 airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air.

In total, L3 CTS trained 1000 cadets across the globe during 2017. However, Glover-Faure said currently only one in 15 are female – a statistic which L3 hopes to increase to one in five in the coming years as part of a wider push for diversity among candidates.

Glover-Faure stated that opening up pilot training to a wider range of young people will be necessary to meet the increasing pilot demand, something that will become an even more critical issue in the UK after Brexit. The company hopes to achieve this by going to even more schools, universities and careers fairs as well as working with its partners to offer new funding opportunities.