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The Journey of Our Aeronautical Engineering Apprentices – Cohort Three

Category: AirTanker Released: 19 March 2021


Our third cohort of six Aeronautical Engineering Apprentices embarked upon their four year Apprenticeship in 2019. Their initial period of foundation training was undertaken with our training partner Resource Group. Our apprentices are now embedded within Fleet Engineering at AirTanker as they continue their training and development by gaining hands on experience with both our Line and Base Maintenance Engineers. We caught up with some of our cohort three Apprentices to hear their thoughts about their journey so far.

For the first nine months of their apprenticeship, intense training is carried out at Resource Group, Cotswold Airport, where they gain an understanding of aircraft maintenance practices through
classroom based practical learning, and exams. As well as learning the theory, they undergo a practical phase, learning basic hand skills such as interpreting engineering drawings, marking out dimensions on sheet metal, cutting and filing and working on aircraft in a simulated Part 145 environment.

Now embedded with AirTanker as part of their development phase, they are transferring their training into day-to-day engineering life. This is provided through on-the-job learning with the support of mentors, which develops their specialist hand skills, fault diagnosis capabilities and experience of maintenance practices associated with complex aircraft mechanical and avionics systems. This is formally recognised by gaining the requisite evidence for completion of their NVQ E-Portfolio.

Isaac Brooks, a Cohort Three apprentice, said:

“I had a fantastic time at Resource Group, where I acquired many new hand skills and gained plenty of academic knowledge so that I can now maintain aircraft safely and efficiently. I now really enjoy being able to integrate my training into my day-to-day working life, as I am continuously honing my skills and applying my knowledge to maintaining the Voyager here at AirTanker.”

Working in the two-bay hangar at AirTanker provides our apprentices many different opportunities throughout their development, such as:

  • Working on every aspect of the aircraft, through both light and heavy maintenance duties.
  • Working alongside both civilian and military engineers
  • Flying with Voyager on tasks around the world, to locations such as Athens and Cyprus.

Some apprentices from our third cohort shared their views on their apprenticeship with us:

Henry Harvey-Jones explained:

“Being an apprentice with AirTanker has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Coming straight from doing my A-Levels in college, to gaining qualifications that will set me up for a fantastic career, while earning all at the same time, is a huge positive, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the friendly and supportive environment that I work in.”

George Lee said:

“I would 100% recommend an apprenticeship in the Aviation industry and with rare opportunities and a unique career advancement, AirTanker is a standout winner”.

Sam Gibson stated:

“Overall the apprenticeship has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop my skills and knowledge further with AirTanker.”

What happens next?

On successful completion of their apprenticeship, our Apprentices will achieve a Level 2 Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation Engineering, Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Maintenance and a Level 3 Diploma On-Aircraft Maintenance Category A. They may also have the opportunity to apply for a permanent role within our Fleet Engineering department.

Paul Heane, Technical Training Manager, has been the manager for our apprentices since we started our Aeronautical Engineering Apprenticeship scheme in 2016. He said:

It is a privilege to have been involved in the startup of the AirTanker Aeronautical Engineering Apprenticeship scheme since 2016 and to continue to support and watch it develop into the programme we have today. We are currently recruiting 6 new apprentices for Cohort 4 and I am continually impressed by the caliber of apprentice selected and how with the support of many members of the engineering team and internal departments, they have all seamlessly integrated into the organisation and will become a major part of the engineering department moving forwards.
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