Career pathways in aerospace
Our roles section provides an in-depth introduction into key career pathways in aerospace and aviation with advice on how to be an engineer, aerospace design and engineering, aircraft maintenance, how to be a pilot and much more.
The two main routes into the industry are either though an Apprenticeship or University degree. Many people begin their careers in designing, developing and testing aerospace products by studying a degree in aeronautical engineering or related fields such as avionics, space, mechanical, systems or materials engineering. There are over 30 highly respected aerospace/aeronautical engineering degrees in the UK, many of which have been accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society. Following university, many graduates will go on to join graduate schemes of large aerospace manufacturers and equipment providers, or OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Safran Landing Systems, Cobham or Leonardo, as well as with engineering consultancies such as Atkins and Fraser Nash
Aerospace OEMs, such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, have a strong tradition in offering high quality apprenticeships focused on manufacturing and testing intricate, complex components and systems, working with existing and emerging technologies to bring aerospace designs to life. Recent work on new ‘Trailblazer’ standards for apprenticeships across the sector is reinforcing the high standards of training and qualifications aerospace is known for – many of today’s senior executives began their careers as apprentices. This work has led to the development of apprenticeships at all levels, including Degree and Postgraduate routes. Therefore you may even be able to start employment before you get your degree and study while you work, with tuition fees picked up by your employer. Many SMEs also offer apprenticeships and have been involved in developing the new Trailblazer standards. Some large aerospace manufacturers also ‘over train’ apprentices on behalf of SMEs in their supply chain. A good educational grounding in relevant subjects, including Maths, Science and Design & Technology, at GCSE and/or A Level/equivalent standard, depending on which apprenticeship level you enter, is essential. However, competition for places is high – over 2,000 visitors attend the Airbus Open Day each year!