In an increasingly competitive job market it is essential for students considering higher education to set themselves apart from the crowd and gain qualifications that employers actually want. The Aerospace industry is no different, so if you are looking for a career in manufacturing or maintenance what is the best way to get qualified?
If you are not looking to take the academic route but a more practical approach then you should consider an apprenticeship. Most are aimed at 16 – 24 year olds; however there are some courses available to adults too. Courses can last anything from 1 to 4 years depending on the institution and employer and your time will be split between training on the job and learning at college. Also you can earn while you learn and compared to university, you are unlikely to run up high amounts of debt.
Aerospace apprenticeships are offered through manufacturers such as Airbus or BAE Systems or by maintenance providers such as British Airways or Flybe. Once you have decided what area you want to pursue, you can either contact the companies directly to enquire about available apprenticeships or you can apply through your local college.
There are many training options available and three levels of apprenticeship offered that merge on-the-job training with classroom learning. You will be employed by the chosen company and most of your time will be spent with them learning through a structured programme. You will then be given time to attend college where you will learn the theory to compliment your practical work.
So why chose an apprenticeship? The obvious benefits are the ability to earn a wage while you learn and to get away from a ‘school’ environment. But it will also teach you to work to deadlines and you will gain much more practical experience than most other students. It will also boost your potential employability, with the exact skills employers want. If that wasn’t enough reason, research from the Learning Skills Council has shown that over the lifetime of a career, someone with an apprenticeship can earn £100,000 more than someone who has not completed an apprenticeship.
There are many routes to take including Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Aircraft Maintenance, Avionics or Materials and Manufacturing. You could end up building components or travelling the world inspecting and maintaining aircraft. Whatever route you decide to take an apprenticeship can offer you the experience to do the job you want and to do it well.