We recently spoke with Nicole Keenan, Apprentice Mechanic at British Airways Maintenance Glasgow. Nicole shared her journey so far, including what prompted her to pursue an apprenticeship, and her advice for any aspiring engineers who are planning their first career steps.
What first made you decide to pursue a career in engineering?
I knew I always wanted a hands on job and wanted to pursue engineering since a young age. I came to British Airways to do work experience for a week to see what actually was involved in the job I wanted to do. I loved this experience as it had confirmed that I was heading for the right career for me.
What was it about the apprenticeship route that appealed to you?
I was at university for aircraft engineering before applying for the apprenticeship, but I was unhappy as I wasn't getting any practical experience and was finding it hard to learn from books rather than doing the job yourself. This made me apply for an apprenticeship as I can do the practical side as well as learn.
Could you describe what the application process was like?
The application process started off with a written application at apprenticeships.scot. If you were successful in this you then proceeded to an aptitude test which was carried out online. Next was an interview with an apprenticeship organisation which was a face to face interview, and lastly if you were successful in all this it was a face to face interview with British Airways Maintenance Glasgow. (This is specific to the Glasgow based apprenticeship; the process is slightly different but similar for the London and Cardiff apprenticeships.)
How has the experience been so far? Have there been any particular highlights?
I have loved the apprenticeship so far, I have learned so much more than I ever knew before and have had so many opportunities to meet new people in my field of work; such as me and my fellow apprentices got the chance to go to Farnborough Airshow with The Air League, as well as go to British Airways London Heathrow maintenance base to see the similar work that takes place there.
What are you most looking forward to learning or experiencing in the rest of your apprenticeship?
I am looking forward to developing my skills further and gaining new knowledge as I come to the end of my apprenticeship and start working on my B licence modules.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career so far?
The most challenging part was trying to get used to the company's way of working and getting to know all of my colleagues when I first started, but everyone was so welcoming and made it easy for me to learn.
Do you have any particular career goals that you’re working towards, if you wouldn’t mind sharing?
I am working towards gaining my SVQ which is my qualification I gain from my apprenticeship. I am also working towards my B licence by starting the modules that are necessary; so far I have successfully passed 1 of these.
What advice would you give to any aspiring engineers out there who are planning their first career steps?
I would highly advise looking for an apprenticeship as I found it to be the correct career path for me by gaining hand skills as well as knowledge. If available, try and gain some work experience in order to confirm to yourself that this is the correct career for you.
To find out more about apprenticeships with British Airways, click here.
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