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Helping you find a career in the Aviation industry

The aviation industry is made up of people who keep our aircraft in the sky – something that’s essential for public safety and national and international defence and transportation, as well as for ensuring that we can enjoy our holidays abroad without hassle!

There are four main categories within the aviation industry: international, national, domestic and cargo. Those working for commercial airlines might fly, command or work with planes domestically, nationally or internationally, whilst pilots or others who work in areas such as logistics are more likely to deal with the cargo part of the industry, moving goods from place to place. Many of those who work in aviation also work on the ground, at an airport.

Basically, it’s the industry that facilitates the aircraft business – anything or anyone that needs to be transported via the air. It’s an industry that’s at the forefront of technological development, allowing goods to be transported across the world within hours and people to fly thousands of miles (London to Western Australia recently became one of the world’s longest direct flights). It can be a glamorous job, too – especially in roles such as a pilot, which is seen as a hugely respected career choice.

Types of jobs within aviation


There are numerous jobs within aviation, including those within manufacturing and production as well as office-based roles and those that actually require employees to be airborne, such as a pilot. Here are just a few of the roles that you could consider:

Pilot – Possibly the first job that comes to mind when we think of aviation, a pilot is responsible for the safe take-off, cruising and landing of his or her plane and the passengers or cargo on board
Co-pilot – The second pilot in the aircraft, with the same skills and training as the pilot
Air traffic controller – A skilled individual, based at an airport, who gives directions to planes within a certain region’s airspace
Flight dispatcher – Plans flights, taking into account the type of aircraft, the weather, potential for turbulence, and other factors
Ground staff – Working within an airport, usually as an employee of an airline, assisting passengers and providing required information (this covers a number of different roles that are found within an airport)
Cabin crew – Ensuring that passengers have a journey that is as safe and comfortable as possible
Aircraft maintenance technician – Ensuring the safety of an aircraft whilst it is on the ground and before take-off, including performing any fixes needed and making sure it is safe to fly
Customer service agent – Based in an airport, usually working for that or for a particular airline, providing customers with assistance
Aviation data analyst – Reviews data and creates and presents reports pertaining to flights
Aviation security officer – Carrying out pre-defined security procedures and checks, including in the areas of cargo, passenger, and employee security
Aviation safety officer – Uses laws, rules and regulations to plan and facilitate safety and environmental programmes
Aircraft engineer – Identifying and solving issues with an aircraft, using a mixture of mathematical principles and practical skill


Skills & interests required for a career in Aviation
Those working within the sector need to be diligent, committed and have a scientific mind – whether they’re on the ground or in the air. There are lives at stake that are the responsibility of aviation workers at every level, after all.

Those working within the aviation industry also have to be prepared to juggle multiple issues at the same time: passenger needs, safety, security and possibly disruptive weather conditions, to name just a few. You need the ability to keep calm under pressure, a calm manner and the ability to multitask as standard.
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Aviation
There are a large number of career options for graduates within the aviation industry, including many training schemes with large firms. These schemes are likely to last two years, and can set you on your way to a long-term career with the company you train with.

Opportunities can be found with airports, airlines, and in the wider aerospace industry – check the graduates pages of individual companies to see what graduate opportunities and schemes they offer.

To become a pilot, you will need to find a reputable organisation to complete your training (including a certain number of flying hours) with. The Civil Aviation Authority has a list of Airline Transport Pilot’s License (ATPL) approved courses.
Tips for getting into the field
Working in aviation, especially at a high level, is a dream for many. It’s a competitive and popular industry, so it’s essential to know what employers will look for when you’re applying for roles.

Obviously, a strong head for maths and a clear and defined logical approach are both essential.

There are also a large number of general, non-industry-related things that you can do to put yourself in a good position to start applying for jobs. These include:

Tailoring your CV for each specific role - making sure you focus on previous experience and relevant skills
Applying for internships and/or work experience – this is a no-brainer: as well as ensuring that you’ve experienced the field before you start applying for jobs within it, it’ll show that you’re committed and allow you to start acquiring the practical skills you’ll need in your future job
See what the top companies in the field require – start by looking for case studies from the big firms, and note what backgrounds and skills their current employees have
Get the relevant accreditation – in this case, you’ll need to look into the specific training that you’ll need to move into whichever area of aviation you choose
Use your contacts – university professors, those you met on work experience, people you can approach through social media or LinkedIn – they’re all potentially the stepping stone to your next role, and they might very well be happy to help you
Get your medical – if you’re planning on becoming a pilot, this is essential – you don’t want to start training and then discover that your eyesight, for example, means you can’t continue. The medical test you need is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Class 1 Medical
How much can graduates earn in Aviation?
Because of the high level of skill needed and the responsibility placed upon those in the aviation industry the remuneration can be quite high, especially at the top levels and in the highest profile jobs (such as a pilot).

Here are the average salaries for some of the roles, according to PayScale:

  • Pilot/Co-pilot: £62,513

  • Air traffic controller: £55,268

  • Flight dispatcher: £22,725

  • Aircraft maintenance technician: £29,685

  • Aviation data analyst: £25,664

  • Aviation security officer: £21,767

  • Aircraft engineer: £33,766

  • Aviation management consultant: £37,500

  • Mechanical engineer : £47,166

  • Airport operations manager: £44,219

  • Airport operations supervisor: £20,750

  • Airport business development manager: £55,000
What qualifications do I need for a career in Aviation?
A-level subjects in areas including science, maths, English or languages are beneficial in aviation, as is having a degree in one of the following areas:

  • Maths

  • Engineering

  • Any ‘hard’ science

  • Transport/logistics


You will also need to complete your ATPL, as mentioned previously.
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