Going to university isn’t the only route to a job in aviation engineering, operations or maintenance. Apprenticeships give you the chance to complete a UK-recognised trade qualification while you’re working within an organization and earning a wage.
Apprenticeship programmes combine college or university studies with practical training, so companies work closely with partnership colleges and universities. Government-approved aviation engineering apprenticeships are available through the RAF, Virgin Atlantic, Airbus and Rolls Royce to name just a few.
The RAF offers engineering and technical apprenticeships through its Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering. The Aeronautical Apprenticeship is set up so that learning takes place during training in the classroom, and then in a practical work environment, so those on the course get all-round experience.
The RAF offers a three-year Advanced Apprenticeship in Aeronautical Engineering, and an Aircraft Technician Apprenticeship (Mechanical) as well as an Aircraft Technician (Avionics) Apprenticeship. RAF Apprenticeships are appealing because they offer attractive pay and benefits, and there is the chance to also benefit from accelerated pay, on going training and worldwide travel.
Airbus offers apprenticeships at both UK sites – Broughton, North Wales and Filton, near Bristol. All apprenticeship programmes run for three years taking place in partnership with colleges or universities.
Airbus also offers an enhanced Higher or ‘Undergraduate Apprenticeship’ in Engineering, which leads to a BEng with Honours (Aeronautical Engineering Manufacture) in the third year. This programme provides a real alternative to university, combining vocational and academic training, together with on-the-job experience.
Virgin Atlantic runs an award-winning apprenticeship, which aims to produce highly competent technicians who will have great career prospects. Intakes are recruited annually every March via the Virgin Careers website.
The Virgin Atlantic Academy of Engineering Training (AET) is an EASA Part-147 approved training organisation, providing Basic License, Type and Specialised courses in Aircraft Maintenance and Safety & Equipment.
The academy serves Virgin Atlantic Airways and the wider aviation industry, including major and independent airlines, aircraft operators, maintenance companies, training companies requiring specialist support, and independent contractors.
Virgin Atlantic also offers an Aviation Operations on the Ground Apprenticeship which covers some of the main jobs involved in supporting the ‘taking off and landing’ part of what happens at an airport. This includes everything from maintaining runways to ensuring passengers receive their luggage at their destination.
British Airways offer apprenticeships in three key areas: Customer, Operations, and Business Support. If you choose Operations, you can specialise in Aircraft Maintenance, Heathrow Operations, or IAG Cargo Operations.
The Business Support stream gives you the opportunity to work at the British Airways Head Office, in Project Management, or in IAG Revenue Management. If you would prefer a more customer orientated career, you can choose the Customer stream which has options to specialise in Customer Service or Customer Contact.
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