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Local Content: Bristow Helicopters as pioneers


The Nigerian Content Act is for the promotion of value addition to the Nigerian economy, through the utilization of local raw materials, products, and services in order to stimulate growth of indigenous capacity.

But, before this became a reality when Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, signed the bill into law in 2010, Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited had commenced its Nigeria Content Plan in the early eighties. This was long before the idea of developing Nigerians to actively participate in the Oil and Gas Industry became a policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The focus has from the outset largely been on the development of Human Resources, Capacity / Capability Development; Technology Transfer and Localisation.

Bristow Chopper

The effort at Human Resource Development is focused on two key core areas namely:
1.Pilot Training
2.Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Training.

Pilot Training:
In 1984, Bristow commenced training of Nigerians who already had the Commercial Pilots Licence (Aeroplanes) as helicopter pilots at its Flying Training School, Redhill, United Kingdom.

In addition Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited sponsored a number of candidates through the then Nigerian Civil Aviation Training School (NCAT), in Zaria, Kaduna State through Fixed-Wing Courses. These candidates were later sent to the Flying Training School in the United Kingdom to convert them into helicopter pilots.

The NCAT sponsorship programme was identified as inadequate to meet the need to replace expatriate pilots, as it took approximately three to four years to complete the Commercial Pilots programme. A decision was made to accelerate the programme by starting a sponsored programme, whereby Nigerians selected through a rigorous selection process would be sent to the Flying Training School in the United Kingdom.

This would reduce the 3-year programme in Zaria to 15 months. This sponsored Cadet Pilot Programme started in 1986. This Cadet Programme continues today and has proudly produced over 200 Nigerian pilots.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Training:
Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited (BHNL) in addition to students sponsored through the Engineering Training School at NCAT, Zaria, recruited self-sponsored Nigerian nationals.

In addition to sponsorship at NCAT Zaria, an ‘Apprenticeship Programme’ was started in 1988 whereby selected candidates were trained in the United Kingdom for 2 years. Following the downturn in training activities in Zaria in the nineties, this programme continued in the United Kingdom.

In recent time, Bristow has collaborated with NCAT to reduce money spent abroad and domicile some training cost by working with NCAT to facilitate some part of the training program in Zaria, before students are sent to the Bristow Academy for further intensive training.

Today, Bristow Helicopters Nigeria activities and contributions have proven that, the enactment of the Nigerian Content Act, was a step in the right direction.


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