A father-son relationship comes full circle at Marshall Skills Academy

A father-son relationship comes full circle at Marshall Skills Academy

A full circle moment for Marshall Skills Academy as we discover how small the world of aviation training is…

Marshall Skills Academy Learning Facilitator, Dave Screen, and long-term friend (now retired) RAF employee Brian Sadler, have both experienced extraordinary careers in aviation.

What’s more, their career journeys are serendipitously linked, as Dave Screen is now training his former mentor Brian Sadler’s son, David Sadler.

Brian spent most of his early career as a training instructor at the Tornado Ground Servicing School (TGSS) at RAF Cottesmore, in Rutland. As part of his role, he spent 12 months at RAF Marham, in Norfolk, where he worked at second line on the Tornado GR1.

This is where Brian met his colleague, and now friend, Dave Screen in 1984.

At the time, Brian worked as the Avionics Chief Tech and was Dave’s line manager until he returned to Cottesmore after being offered the new role of Senior Avionics Instructor back at the TGSS.

Not long after Brian returned to Cottesmore, Dave expressed an interest in joining him as a trainer, so Brian encouraged him to apply to become one of the training instructors at the school.

“I would never have considered going into teaching if it were not for Brian’s inspirational approach,”

Having commissioned in 1991 Brian was promoted in 2000 and was posted to the Tornado Maintenance School (TMS formerly TGSS) in his first tour as Squadron Leader. Having previously enjoyed his time as a trainer in the school, he was eager to return.

Having originally joined the school as a Corporal, he served at the TGSS as a Sergeant and a Chief Technician. He was the Officer Commanding at the TMS for two tours in 2000 and again in 2008. By the end of his impressive career in 2011, Brian had worked with the Tornado for about 18 years and served in the RAF for exactly 37 years and 137 days.

Meanwhile, Dave Screen left the RAF in 1997 and accepted a position at Bedford College training engineering students. While there, he also taught a cohort of Marshall apprentices who, at the time, undertook some of their training at the college.

Dave later joined Marshall Skills Academy in 2015, where he became a Learning Facilitator. It was at Marshall Skills Academy where he found himself teaching Brian’s son, David Sadler, who joined Marshall as part of the adult training scheme.

Previously, David Sadler had undertaken an apprenticeship with BAE Systems and continued to work for them for six years. Unfortunately, he was made redundant in 2017 following the retirement of the Tornado and saw this as a great opportunity to secure a role at Marshall.

David began working at Marshall in the stores and was employed for around 18 months whilst he waited for a role to become available within the Marshall adult trainee scheme.

He started his apprenticeship with Marshall Skills Academy in 2021 and is working towards a Level 3 Engineering Technician qualification within Military Aerospace.

David said that although he had some excellent training at BAE Systems, it was useful to refresh his theory and expand his knowledge about avionics, and he is grateful to Dave Screen for his innovative approach to teaching which, serendipitously, was inspired by his own father, Brian.