Print page

Aged 16-19 and interested in aerospace? Here is how we can help!

Are you aged 16-19? Or do you know someone in the 16-19 age group who is interested in aerospace and aviation and thinking about the next steps? Now is the time to think about which A level subjects to study or which vocational course, such as a BTEC will help you achieve your goals. Are you thinking about university or an apprenticeship?  Are you unsure what route to take and still looking to keep your options open? The Careers in Aerospace website has lots of advice and resources for you, whichever step you take.

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!

Ballantyne aerospace careers event for 14-18s

Currently postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions in the UK.

The Ballantyne is an annual careers awareness event organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society for 14-18 year-olds. The event aims to provide an insight into the career pathways including apprenticeships and university routes in the aerospace and aviation sector with inspiring talks from aerospace and aviation professionals of all ages, from engineers to pilots, as well as STEM challenges and competitions.

If you are thinking about career pathways and would like to hear case studies, the latest news and developments and talk to friendly experts from across the aerospace and aviation sector, this is a must event for you to attend!


The Ballantyne takes place at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s headquarters building, No.4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. The event is FREE to attend. Contact the Careers team for more information.

Ballantyne 2017

16+ choices

The document from the Education & Skills Funding Agency brings together the choices for people over 16 years of age. It describes each programme and includes:

  • Employer costs
  • Incentives
  • Training
  • Duration
  • Eligibility
  • Progression route
  • Links to additional information

16+/18+ choices overview flyer

Getting in touch

If you would like more information please contact the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Careers team. In addition to our events and the Careers in Aerospace website, the Royal Aeronautical Society has free materials for individuals, parents, careers advisors, teachers and lecturers including Career Flightpath magazine and the ‘Malaga’ careers poster. We can also provide impartial information, advice and guidance if you know of a young person thinking about training, apprenticeship or university options or choose A Level/BTEC subjects. Visit our School and College pages for more information.

Contact Us

  • * Required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our Latest Tweets

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 at 12:06pm
Tune in to our recent #altamentoring webinars which examine the post-pandemic #Pilot landscape and the impact of #remoteworking and considerations for managing work-life boundaries for people with different working styles

Via @Aerosociety YouTube Channel:
https://t.co/aYR3RD06hw https://t.co/aoll4jQJtM
Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 at 10:21am
Registration is open for the @Aerosociety #AmyJohnson Lecture 2021, Thurs 8 July, 14.30-15.30 BST with keynote speaker Air Cdre Suraya Marshall, Commandant, RAF Cranwell discussing #inclusive leadership and the future of careers in the @RoyalAirForce

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 at 8:09am
Our online careers management platform for RAeS Members now available! Check out #CareerFlightpath and upload your CV to CV360 and get personalised feedback on how to improve your CV. Start exploring now: https://t.co/sgjVUk5UTF #Careers #Jobs #avgeek @AeroSociety https://t.co/NEnVQvzraA