This usually means undertaking a 2-4 year programme where you work four days a week and go to college for one, to gain qualifications and your “trade papers”. You’re almost guaranteed to be kept on in a full-time job afterwards, often with options to continue with more qualifications if you choose. Many of the companies at Prestwick Aerospace offer an Apprenticeship Programme.
One of the best ways to get started in an aerospace career is through an apprenticeship.
This usually means undertaking a 2-4 year programme where you work four days a week and go to college for one, to gain qualifications and your “trade papers”. You’re almost guaranteed to be kept on in a full-time job afterwards, often with options to continue with more qualifications if you choose. Many of the companies in the Prestwick Aerospace Campus offer an Apprenticeship Programme.
Apprentice salaries usually start around £14K - £15.5K and can rise to £20K per year. Once qualified, Technicians earn on average £27K. Engineers can earn between £30K - £40K, with Licenced Engineer salaries around £52.5K to £60K.
An apprenticeship is an increasingly popular choice for school leavers, because it combines continuing to learn towards a qualification with earning a salary and gaining experience – from the word go. Apprenticeships in aerospace have been increasing as the sector grows – and will continue to grow as the Ayrshire Growth Deal supports the aerospace industry into the future.
Apprenticeship roles can be diverse. You can learn more about the different jobs in our Careers section and Ayrshire College has partnerships with local aerospace employers who routinely recruit a high number of apprentices.
The most common way to become an apprentice is to find an employer who will support you through your apprenticeship programme. Make sure you look regularly at each company’s website to make sure you don’t miss out. It’s also worth checking Apprenticeship.Scot and Skills Development Scotland.
“I’ve been mainly learning basic hand skills in year one. Ayrshire College has its own hangar where we work on more aircraft related things like stripping engines and working on auxiliary power units. I’ve definitely got a lot better in my hand skills, you get to put them to good use.
“You’re working with the lecturers who have industry experience, and they’re passing their knowledge on to you. A lot of them come from different areas of industry so you’re really getting as much knowledge as you can get.
“Aerospace is probably the biggest industry in the area. It’s advancing as well, bringing in the use of composites. It’s only going to get bigger and better. Putting academic skills and your hand skills together, if you like to be doing manual work, it’s probably the best thing to get into.”