Our History

Since 1920, Marshall of Cambridge have invested in apprenticeships for people from around the UK which has contributed to the success of the business and also to the city of Cambridge.


Marshall of Cambridge was established in 1909 by David Gregory Marshall, in a small lock-up garage in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge as a chauffeur drive company, which was an immediate success and prompted the move to larger premises in Kings Street in 1910.
The company’s first involvement in aviation dates back to 1912 when its mechanics helped repair the engine of a British Army airship, the Beta II, which had made an emergency landing in Jesus Green, Cambridge, just behind the Marshall garage. This sparked the start of the Marshall aviation business.


By 1920 the first apprenticeships became available within the automotive industry for Marshall Motor Holdings


In 1937, the new Cambridge Airport was officially opened by the then Secretary of State for Air, Sir Kingsley Wood. This was very opportune as it was at a time when re-armament was becoming an urgent national priority, along with the need for even more facilities for military aircrew training.
In 1938 a major flying training school for the RAF Volunteer Reserve was established by Marshall and training soon got into its stride with over 600 new RAF pilots trained before the Battle of Britain commenced. This increased in size and tempo so that by the end of the Second World War, the company had trained over 20,000 aircrew, including pilots, observers and flying instructors. The training scheme was universally adopted by the Royal Air Force in 1941 and continues to this day.


Postwar, aerospace engineering work continued to generate new business, civil and military, with many different types of aircraft passing through the company’s well-equipped hangars and workshops. Most of this work involved repairs, structural modifications and conversions, but also included final assembly of the last production batch of 65 de Haviland Venoms. Marshall also developed its aircraft design and manufacturing facilities, becoming a natural sub-contractor to all the British aircraft manufacturing companies.


This was an exciting decade to be an apprentice.
The skills developed in the Aircraft Design office during the 1960s subsequently enabled Marshall Aerospace to undertake the design and manufacture of the Concorde droop nose and retracting visor in 1967, on behalf of the British Aircraft Corporation.


1972 saw the launch of Marshall Fleet Solutions, which specialises in the sales and after sales support of advanced, vehicle-mounted, temperature control units. With over 100 fully equipped mobile engineers on call 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year, operating from 10 depots across the UK, Marshall Fleet Solutions offer unrivalled support to transport fleet operations across the country, including those for many of the UK’s largest retailers. This is an exciting and dynamic part of the business to be involved in as an apprentice.


With the British Armed Forces’ shift from a Cold War emphasis to Rapid Reaction Expeditionary Force, Marshall Land Systems has evolved in recent years from Equipment Manufacturer to Systems Integrator. Today, the military business is centred on providing rapidly deployable systems for the UK MoD and military customers worldwide, for use in a wide range of situations and extreme environments as well as for humanitarian operations and by the United Nations. There are still a number of apprentices involved in this incredibly exciting work today.


Taking Marshall Aerospace into the 21st Century, was the MOD announcement, on May 31, 2006, of the placing of a £1.52 billion prime contract with Marshall Aerospace, to provide long-term in-depth Hercules maintenance and support at Cambridge and the main RAF operating base, within a partnership with Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce. With the contract won by Marshall in 2018 for the Centre Wing replacement programme, the RAF fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft has had its out of service date extended to 2035. These aircraft will remain a big part of aerospace engineering apprentices work for many years to come.


In 2019, Marshall of Cambridge celebrated the 110th anniversary of the business having been started by David Marshall in 1909. From humble beginnings, today the business goes from strength to strength with a turnover of £2.5 billion and over 5,700 employees across its business arms.


This year we celebrate 100 years of continuous apprentice intake and we are proud to say that during this time, we have trained over 20,000 apprentices who have gone on to stay within the Marshall business or have excelled in other industries.

Marshall Centre is just the beginning of a new exciting chapter. We have recently been granted ‘Main Provider’ status which will allow the Centre to draw on external Businesses’ Apprentice Levy and offer apprentice delivery for the first time in its 100 year history outside Marshall.