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Helping you find a career in the Aeronautical engineering industry

Aeronautical engineering is a branch of engineering which designs, manufactures and improves aeroplanes, satellites and weapons systems. Aeronautical engineers can work on civil or defence projects. Across the whole sector, aeronautical engineers work with advanced technologies to improve flight safety, fuel efficiency, speed and weight.

There are different types of employer in the aeronautical engineering sector. Within the public sector, there are apprenticeship positions available within the armed forces (Air Force, Army & Navy) and central government departments (the Ministry of Defence, MoD, or the Defence Engineering & Science Group, DESG). There are also private sector opportunities, from major defence contractors to airline operators and aircraft components manufacturers.

Within aeronautical engineering there are a variety of specialised disciplines: aerodynamics, composites analysis (understanding the properties of potential building materials), avionics (developing technical electronics systems for aeroplanes), propulsion, and structural engineering.

Depending on which discipline an aeronautical engineer specialises within, they may find themselves: analysing components in laboratories or test facilities, investigating accidents, designing models for aircraft and components, supervising manufacturing and assembly processes for components and whole aircraft, and preparing written reports for a variety of audiences.


Skills & interests required for a career in Aeronautical engineering
Aeronautical engineers must be passionate about aircraft, aviation and working with new technologies. They must also be good at maths and able to analyse large data sets. problem-solving and analysis skills are essential, particularly when applied to finding solutions to challenging technical problems.

Depending on your potential employer some understanding of developments within the aeronautical sector may also be helpful. Some roles may also require you to write reports for publication.
Aeronautical engineering apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
There are different types of Apprenticeship available within aeronautical engineering. These apprenticeships offer support for you to achieve qualifications ranging from Level 2 Aerospace and Aviation to Level 6 Bachelor Honours Degree (BEng).

Many public sector organisations and larger private sector businesses in the aeronautical engineering sector will offer apprenticeship programmes which take you right the way through from Level 2 to Level 6.

These apprenticeship programmes combine time spent studying aspects of aeronautical engineering in college with on-the-job work placements in different areas of the organisation. As you progress through the course of your apprenticeship you will be able to specialise within a specific discipline.

Once you complete your apprenticeship programme there will be a variety of different career paths open to you, including flight systems engineer, mission systems engineer, systems integration engineer, support engineer and airframe specialist.

Many employers will offer qualified Engineers the opportunity to achieve Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. Becoming a Chartered engineer can be crucial to progressing your career within aeronautical engineering, allowing you to reach senior roles within engineering departments.
Tips for getting into the field
Arrange a meeting with your careers advisor to discuss your interest in working within the aeronautical sector and to get advice on identifying potential employers and potential work experience/shadowing opportunities which can help you stand out from other applicants.

Explore the National Apprenticeship Service website for more information about apprenticeships and the support you can receive from government.

Most employers in the aeronautical engineering will recruit apprentices annually through their websites – make sure that you take note of the application opening and closing dates.
What do Aeronautical engineering professionals get paid?
Starting salaries vary depending on which level you begin an apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering.

Those beginning an aeronautical engineering higher apprenticeship will typically earn between £12,000 and £15,000 per annum, with some employers offering slightly higher starting salaries (£16,000 to £18,000).

Those beginning an engineering degree apprenticeship will typically earn between £18,500 and £20,000 per annum.

Many employers will offer regular opportunities to increase your salary depending on your performance at work and academic qualifications during the course of your apprenticeship.

Once you complete your apprenticeship programme, engineering salaries are, on average:

Engineering Technicians: £40,000
Incorporated Engineers: £45,500
Chartered Engineers: £63,000
What qualifications do I need for a career in Aeronautical engineering?
Higher Apprenticeships in aeronautical engineering will typically require at least five GCSEs at grades A–C, including Maths.

Degree Apprenticeships in aeronautical engineering will typically require an A-level or equivalent qualifications, including Maths and at least one other STEM-based subject, plus 5 GCSEs at grades A–C.
Aeronautical engineering industry bodies
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