We spoke to the team at Aer Lingus to find out more about the engineering apprenticeships that they offer, and how aspiring aircraft engineers who are interested in applying can give themselves the best chances of being accepted onto the programme.
Could you tell us a little about the apprenticeship programme(s) that you offer at Aer Lingus?
Our aircraft engineer apprenticeship programme is run by our Maintenance & Engineering department in conjunction with SOLAS - Further Education & Training Authority in Ireland. Taking approximately four years to complete, this forward-looking programme helps to ensure Aer Lingus has access to talented and qualified engineers for future growth.
This apprenticeship is perfect for anyone looking to earn while they learn, with lots of opportunity for professional development over the four year duration of the programme.
How long does the programme last, and what qualifications/licences would an apprentice have upon completing the course?
The programme takes four years to complete, and after successfully completing the apprenticeship, apprentices are awarded a QQI Level 6 Advanced National Craft Certificate by Quality Qualifications Ireland and are eligible to apply for both a Cat A and CAT B1 or B2 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Licence to the Irish Aviation Authority.
Note: The Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Licence is the aviation maintenance industry’s basic qualification, which recognises the holder as a qualified Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. This licence is recognised internationally.
How often do you take on new cohorts, and how many apprentices do you accept?
We take on new apprentices every year, usually starting in September. For 2023, we are recruiting 15 new apprentice aircraft engineers.
Could you describe the application process?
There are a few steps to the application process highlighted below:
Step 1. Apply on-line on the Aer Lingus careers website by submitting your CV
Step 2. Complete On-Line Assessments
Step 3. Attend Interview and Assessment Centre
Step 4. Medical and Security Check
Whereabouts do your apprenticeships take place?
The training for our apprenticeship takes place initially at our offices in Dublin Airport, followed by approximately nine months spent in Shannon, County Clare in year one before returning to Dublin to complete the programme.
What are the different stages involved in the apprenticeship?
This apprenticeship consists of numerous phases of training, both on the job with Aer Lingus and off-the-job in SOLAS Shannon and TU Dublin.
- 3 Off-the-Job Phases with the Education & Training Boards (ETB)/Solas/Institute of Technology (approx. 40 weeks in total)
- 4 On-the-Job Phases with Aer Lingus
- Successful completion is achieved when all the required theory and practical tests have been passed to the required standard set by Solas.
What are some of the biggest benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship at Aer Lingus?
Aer Lingus has a long history of supporting people who are starting out in their careers. Our apprentices are supported throughout every stage of their four years of training and we offer lots of opportunities for career advancement upon completing the apprenticeship.
Our apprentices also get access to a whole host of benefits as employees of Aer Lingus, including; staff travel entitlements (with Aer Lingus and some partner airlines), defined contribution pension scheme, generous annual leave allowance, employee assistance programme and many others.
What career opportunities exist for those who have completed an apprenticeship with you?
After successfully completing the apprenticeship programme, our apprentice engineers become fully qualified aircraft engineers with Aer Lingus. In January 2023, we celebrated the graduation of 27 apprentices. All 27 were offered permanent positions with Aer Lingus, and look forward to a long career ahead with us.
There are also opportunities that come up across our Maintenance & Engineering department, as well as many other departments, which are often of interest to our aircraft engineers. We welcome internal applications, and love to see employees grow both professionally and personally.
What are some of the most important skills and qualities that you look for in your apprentices?
There are a number of skills and qualities that we look for in prospective apprentice aircraft engineers including:
- Mechanically minded; we look for candidates who enjoy working with their hands.
- Enjoy learning; we look for candidates who are interesting in learning new knowledge and craft related skills.
- High level of enthusiasm and commitment; we look for candidates who can take responsibility for their own learning and demonstrate a level of maturity and commitment to a four year programme.
- Excellent communication skills; we look for candidates who can communicate effectively while contributing to a working team.
What are your main goals in terms of bringing in new talent to the aviation industry?
Aer Lingus has always been passionate about providing opportunities to people starting out in their careers. We recognise that continuous development of new talent has to be key feature of our future for us to be successful.
Safety is also at the heart of everything we do in Aer Lingus and our aircraft engineers play an immensely important role in delivering a smooth operation for the airline. This apprenticeship programmes enables us to bring new talent into the company, supporting the evolvement of our Maintenance & Engineering team for its future betterment.
What advice would you give to any aspiring engineers who may be considering an apprenticeship?
If applying for this apprenticeship and invited to an interview, make sure to do your research. We hope to see candidates who are interested in the aviation industry but also those that can demonstrate a commitment to the apprenticeship over its four years.
Take the time to review our careers website, as well as the generation apprenticeship website which has lots of useful information about this particular programme.
Learn more about engineering apprenticeships with Aer Lingus here.
Explore more engineering apprenticeships here.