If you are thinking about studying engineering at university, then A Level Maths and A Level Physics (or equivalent Scottish Highers) are essential choices among your three or four subject choices. If you don’t select these subjects, you will need to do an additional year of study – usually a Foundation Degree – before starting the degree course. You can also look at BTEC subjects in Engineering and the Engineering Diploma. Many universities accept these.
Remember that universities can demand high A Level grades for entry on to their courses so think about which universities you are going to apply for and what kind of hard work you may need to do to ensure you get accepted on to their course!
It is worth noting that even after you graduate, some employers will take into account your A Level grades (or UCAS points) as well as your degree outcome when recruiting graduates. There is often a question on this early on in the application form. If you don’t do as well as expected, take some career advice to see if you should resit or go straight on to higher education.
Another vocational route to engineering is through study of a relevant engineering course at a local FE college. Most colleges offer engineering courses, and there are many colleges with specific aerospace engineering programmes which lead to a variety of qualifications including HND, BTEC, NVQ and City and Guilds. Often the training is linked to continuing preparation for the EASA Aircraft Maintenance licenses.
Many of the colleges offering aerospace engineering training have good connections to local aerospace companies and although may not have a formal apprenticeship available, will help you to gain valuable work experience and they are usually equipped with the latest technology, or even an aircraft you can work on.
On the courses you will combine theory, such as the principles of flight, understanding of engineering principles etc., with practical work, such as repairing parts, making parts and using specialist tools and getting to know the quality and safety legislation which provides the professional standards you must work to.