We recently spoke with Uzoma Anyigbo, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Apprentice at British Airways. He explained what made him pursue a career in engineering, what his apprenticeship has been like so far, and some great tips for those taking the first steps towards an engineering career.
What made you decide to pursue a career in engineering?
I decided to pursue a career in engineering after knowing from young I found interest in disassembling and reassembling my toy models, there was always something about fixing things I found interesting. I admired the on-the-job experience I can get as an engineer as well as working on complex megastructures like aircrafts.
What was it about the apprenticeship route that appealed to you?
What appealed to me about the apprenticeship route is how much practical experience I can get whilst on the course, working alongside amazing people who help me develop my skills for the end goal of qualifying for the job. I also like the fact I study for specific qualifications that can grant myself a role within the industry at the end of my apprenticeship.
What was the application process like for your apprenticeship?
In my opinion, the application process for my apprenticeship was structured pretty well. I liked how many of the questions were based on why I would want the role and the personal qualities I have, such as hobbies. These helped me to properly convey my passion for aircraft engineering.
You recently completed the first year of your apprenticeship with British Airways, how has the experience been so far?
So far, I really have enjoyed my apprenticeship with British Airways. The first year consisted of getting experience with maintenance training and learning for my CAT-A License exams over at Cotswold Airport. Being over there gave me a great amount of insight into what it’s like carrying out maintenance tasks on aircraft, preparing me for my second year back at Heathrow.
Have you had any mentors or role models who have helped you?
I have come across many different role models within the engineering environment. The engineers I work alongside are an example of great role models, they uphold the values of the company and are very welcoming to me. When carrying out maintenance tasks, the engineers ensure I am included and get hands-on experience with all sorts of different jobs on the aircraft; this helps with my self-development and teamwork skills.
What are you most looking forward to learning or experiencing in the rest of your apprenticeship?
Throughout the rest of my apprenticeship, I am looking forward to getting more engineering experience on aircraft, excelling in my personal development, and later on qualifying for my A-license in aircraft maintenance. I am also excited to have placements in different areas of Heathrow and the UK, working alongside many different people.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career so far?
A challenge I faced in my career so far was probably finding myself the most efficient way to study for my CAT-A License exams as there can be a large amount of content to cover, and you must condense it so that you understand them enough to pass them. I did eventually find myself an efficient study method, which helped me to excel my expectations, making me very satisfied with my progress.
What do you enjoy the most about your role?
What I enjoy about my aircraft maintenance with British Airways is that each day is never the same; with different tasks needed to be carried out, this keeps me active and enthusiastic. I love the fact I work on aircraft, which the next day I see departing elsewhere, knowing I was a part of keeping that plane in top-tier condition.
Working in a great company with great and helpful people really is a big positive for me. Being able to wear a British Airways badge really inspires me to keep aiming high no matter what, as it was my dream from young to be an aircraft engineer for British Airways.
What advice would you give to any aspiring engineers out there who are planning their first career steps, or perhaps considering an apprenticeship?
My advice to aspiring engineers would be, if possible, find an apprenticeship of your choice which you know can help progress you towards your end goal. I would always say that you should never turn down any opportunities that come your way, but in fact keep yourself active and apply for them.
Never be afraid to ask questions, especially in the engineering environment; the more questions you ask, the more you develop with knowledge. You should also never give up with your career plans because no pathway is simple and easy, but the ones that stay focused and determined will get there eventually!
Learn more about apprenticeships with British Airways here.
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