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How to Get Into the Aerospace Industry?

Get your career off to a flying start!

Are you interested in taking the next steps to beginning your career in aerospace and aviation? Now is the time to start thinking about what route you’d like to take.

Whether that be an apprenticeship, university, A Levels or a different training route, there is no wrong pathway, it all comes down to what is right for you. This go to guide will arm you with everything you need to know about kickstarting your career in the aerospace and aviation industry.

About the Aerospace Industry

Did you know that in the aerospace industry there are…

Aerospace infographic

Source: https://www.careersinaerospace.com/

In 2021, there were…

  • 89,817  job postings for positions in Manufacture of Air, Spacecraft and Related Machinery ✈️
  • £43,549 was the average salary

The table below shows the top 5 occupations within the industry for 2021:

*Data supplied by Emsi, a labor market data company: https://www.economicmodeling.com/ 

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What careers are available in aerospace?

There are a wide range of different careers available in aerospace and aviation. These include:

Engineering: From developing environmentally friendly aeroplanes to space tourism vehicles, this offers a rewarding and challenging career for those with inquisitive minds! Aerospace engineers could be designing,  developing and testing a wide range of products, from airliners, drones, fighter jets, helicopters, space vehicles and satellites. They also work on the different components of aircrafts like engines, landing gear and electronic systems.

Maintenance: Working in aircraft maintenance, will see you maintaining a range of aircraft, from propeller planes to helicopters, airlines and other flying machines! They usually work in repair stations, hangars or air fields and perform scheduled and emergency maintenance. 

There are also specialist roles within maintenance engineering including Airworthiness Engineers. They make sure that the aircraft is fit to fly in line with aviation regulations. Quality assurance manager is another specialist role, they assess the quality of aircraft specifications and technical designs.

Operations: Thousands of flights take off and land at airports around the world every day. Operation staff are heavily relied on to ensure everything runs smoothly. There are a wide range of careers from Cabin Crew, Air Traffic Controllers, Airport Management, Business Aviation and much more! Whether you’re checking in luggage, ensuring people are comfortable on their travels or coordinating the movement of air traffic, you will be at the heart of ensuring people and luggage get to the right place, at the right time.

Pilots in cockpit

Pilots: As a pilot, you could be working in a commercial or military environment. From passenger planes to cargo planes, jets and helicopters. Pilots are responsible for the safety of all crew and passengers onboard the aircraft. They operate the aircraft, check the weather and perform pre-flight inspections.

Pilots will need to follow instructions provided by air traffic control, adjust the flight path during weather emergencies and inform passengers and cabin cre about the the progress of the journey.

Space: Careers in the space sector could see you working as an Aerodynamicist, Astro-ecologist, Astrobiologists, Astrochemist, Astronauts, Astrophotographer, Astrophysicists & Astronomers, Business Analyst, Data Scientist, Disaster Response Coordinator, Earth Observation Scientist, Engineers, Geodesist, Meteorologist, Navigational Scientist, Planetary Scientists, Spacecraft Operator, Space Technician

Remember, there are also supporting roles such as business and specialist areas like Human Factors, Law and more!

Pathways into the aerospace and aviation industry

A Levels

There are a range of different A Levels that might be helpful if you’re looking to start your career in the aerospace industry. If you’re interested in going to university after your A Levels, it’s a good idea to check the entry requirements to see what you need to achieve. Depending on what discipline of aerospace you would like to work in, useful A Levels can include:

  • Maths
  • Further Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Business Studies

T Levels

T Levels are equal to three A Levels and combine classroom and practical learning through study and industry placements. Useful T Levels can include:

  • Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a great pathway into the industry, from aerospace engineering to cabin crew – there are a whole variety of opportunities. You can even get qualified up to degree level! Here are some of the apprenticeships available in the aerospace industry:

  • Aerospace software development engineer
  • Aerospace engineer 
  • Aviation movement specialist
  • Aviation ground handler
  • Aviation customer service operative
  • Aviation maintenance mechanic (military)
  • Aviation operations manager
  • Aviation ground operative
  • Aviation ground specialist
  • Cabin crew

University

University is a great route to help you to develop the skills and knowledge required to forge a career in aerospace and aviation. If you prefer structured, academic learning then university could be the right path for you. Degrees can include:

  • Satellite Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
  • Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Aviation Management

Pilot Training 

If you know that becoming a pilot is what you want to do then undertaking pilot training is compulsory. This can be done through:

  • Limited airline sponsorship
  • Scholarship and grants from some aviation organisations
  • Self-funding
  • Study on an aviation related degree course which includes (self-funded) flight training

Pilot training can cost up to £90,000, however there are a limited number of sponsorships available too, through the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.


There is also opportunities to train as a military pilot, flying for the RAF, Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm) or Army Air Corps.

pexels-spacex-586034

Skills you need to get flying

The skills you need will depend on the role you’re interested in applying for. To give you an idea, here is a broad range of skills that will be required:

  • Good communication
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Problem solving skills
  • Good coordination skills
  • Spatial awareness
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work well in high pressured situations

You’ll have likely developed these skills over time at school, college, during hobbies and other events in your life. When starting your career in aerospace you’ll develop more technical and role specific skills too!

So, are you ready to kickstart your career in a rewarding, challenging and exiting industry? Click the ‘apply now’ button to get started!

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