NTA 2018 Graphic

Emerging new Aerospace Talent Honouredat NWAA Awards

The North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) held the 19th NWAA New Talent Awards on the 7th March 2019 recognising and rewarding the achievements of young apprentices and trainees from the North West of England’s aerospace and defence industry.

The ceremony, held at the prestigious Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, saw young people working or studying in the North West Aerospace industry along with employers, training provider’s and mentors enjoy a three course dinner and speeches from the 2016 Winning Business University Challenge Team Member Jess Daly, MBDA Missile Systems and Chris Hebert, Aerospace Engineering Director - Aerodynamics,d2h Aero who provide engineering services to multinational companies around the world in the motorsport and automotive sectors, whilst also leading the aero development for the British Olympic programmes.

This year, following fierce competition and entries from organisations across the North West and Isle of Man, saw the overall winner of the award of North West’s Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice, along with the £1000 prize kindly sponsored by recruitment consultants Ideal Recruit Ltd going to Lucas Benson from BAE Systems Ltd.Following their introduction last year to acknowledge that apprenticeships are evolving by enabling apprentices to not only achieve a level 3 standard, but now support training up to Masters and PHD level, the Winners for Aerospace Engineering Technician and Aerospace Engineer sponsored by the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology which included a cheque for £300 each, were Will Fallows, Paradigm Precision and Matthew Eccles, MBDA Missile Systems respectively.

This year, Nabeela Desai from Paradigm Precision carried off the “One to Watch” trophy, sponsored by Preston’s College, this award is presented at the discretion of the judging panel, to an individual showing a great deal of potential and a promising future in the aerospace industry.

As the NWAA apprentice awards become more and more competitive every year. This year the apprentice awards judges felt the need to award a second “One to Watch” trophy.sponsored by Themis, Burnley College, This went to Ryan Naylor from MBDA Missile Systems.

The Employer & Training Provider prize sponsored by Hyde Aero Products went for a second year running to Burnley College.

NWAA’s Business University Challenge aims to bring business apprentices, university and college students together to compete head-to-head in a series of challenges to test their negotiation, innovation, communication and presenting skills.

13  teams  of  young  people  from  North  West  universities,  colleges  and  aerospace  businesses competed for the title at Preston’s College on a snowy day in January. During the ceremony MBDA were revealed as the winning team and presented with £1,500 prize money by Royal Aeronautical Society and a trophy sponsored by Wincanton.

Candidates who displayed outstanding leadership and performance during the Business University Challenge were identified by the judges and two Outstanding Professional Excellence awards and prize money of £200, sponsored by Safran Nacelles, were presented to Lloyd Duxbury, Paradigm Precison and Helen Wood, from MBDA. Due to the exceptional high caliber of individuals, the judges really couldn’t decide between three candidates so NWAA sponsored a third Outstanding Professional award which was presented to Jack Windle, Safran Nacelles.

David Bailey, Chief Executive Officer at NWAA, said: “The New Talent Awards has become a key event for the North West’s Aerospace and Defence Sector. It is important that we continue to recognise and reward the achievements of the talent emerging in our industry. It is hugely important to our industry that we increase the numbers of talented young people into apprenticeships to plug the skills gap that threatens our ability to achieve the growth the aerospace market is experiencing.

Winner of the North West’s Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice Award (NWBADA): Lucas Benson of BAE Systems Ltd, trained by BAE Systems Shared Service HR.

Winner of the North West’s Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice Award: Lucas Benson of BAE Systems Ltd, trained by BAE Systems Shared Service HR (center), with Neil McKay, Chairman, North West Aerospace Alliance (left) and Chris Hebert, Engineering Director - Aerodynamics

Winner of Employer & Training Provider Awards Neil Burrows, Burnley College with Will Fallows, Winner Aerospace Engineer Technician (L)  and Lucas Benson, Winner NWBADA

Winner of Employer & Training Provider Awards Neil Burrows, Burnley College.


All media enquiries please contact: Catherine Toon at NWAA on 01772 648800 or email catherine.toon@aerospace.co.uk 


Images from the New Talent Awards event held on 7th March will be available to download from

Flickr in due course


Sponsors of the New Talent Awards are:

  • Ideal Recuit Ltd – North West’s Best Apprentice Winners Prize Money
  • IET The Institute of Engineering & Technology – Aerospace Engineering Technician & Aerospace Engineer
  • MBDA Missile Systems – Drinks Reception
  • Preston’s College – The One to Watch Award
  • Burnley College – Innovation Award
  • Hyde Aero Products – Innovation
  • Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster – Event Partner
  • BAE Systems, Manchester University, Paradigm Precision, , Training 2000, Nelson & Colne College

Sponsors of the Business University Challenge (BUC) are: 

  • Prize Money – Wincanton
  • Winners Trophy – Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Professional Excellence Individual Awards – Safran Nacelles/ NWAA

Winning BUC team members:

Company Name – MBDA 

  • Jessica Richmond 
  • Helen Wood 
  • Matthew Moss 


Company Name – Swagelok (2nd Place) 

  • Jack Hampson
  • Brandon Clague
  • Cameron Comber

Company Name – Rolls Royce (3rd Place) 

  • Charlotte Buffey
  • Thomas Tolley
  • Mohammed-Aamir Patel 

Winners of Business University Challenge – Outstanding Professional Excellence Individual Awards

  • Jack Windle  - Safran Group
  • Helen Wood – MBDA Missile Systems
  • Lloyd Duxbury - Paradigm Precision

Winners of Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice Awards:

  • Overall Winner – Lucas Benson, BAE Systems
  • Aerospace Engineer – Matthew Eccles, MBDA Missile Systems
  • Aerospace Engineering Technician – Will Fallows, Paradigm Precision
  • One To Watch 1 – Nabeela Desai, Paradigm Precision
  • One To Watch 2 – Ryan Naylor, MBDA Missile Systems

Highly Commended (company alphabetical) 

  • Dominik Pajda - A&G Precision
  • Luke Kirby-Taylor -  A&G Precision
  • James Johnson - BAE Systems
  • Chris Teixeira - BAE Systems
  • Dylan Cunnah - BAE Systems
  • Adam Davidson - Hyde Aero Products
  • Connor Ogden - Hyde Aero Products
  • Clayton Beattie - MBDA
  • Joe Howorth - Paradigm Precision
  • Mike Jackson - Safran Group

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