An apprenticeship is a nationally-recognised qualification that is undertaken in the workplace with apprentices receiving on-the-job training. Every apprenticeship is different but most apprenticeships in the aerospace industry last between 3-4 years, this provides the opportunity to gain much needed experience along with nationally recognised qualifications.  

What types of apprenticeships are there?

There are 3 different types of apprenticeships available:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2 - equivalent to NVQ/BTEC)
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeship (Level 3 - equivalent to 2 A level passes)
  • Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 or above - equivalent to a foundation degree)

If you start your apprenticeship at 16 you will work your way through the intermediate apprenticeship, but many companies give you the opportunity to progress right up to your higher apprenticeship too!

So what are the benefits?

  • Earn while you learn - apprenticeships mean you are paid a salary by your employer. This can be anything up to £220 per week and that’s just your starting wage!
  • Salary progression - most companies increase your salary as you progress through the company.
  • The opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst earning a wage.
  • Progress in your career: surveys show that employers recognise and value Apprenticeships so with hard work you could rise through the ranks quickly.
  • Gaining on the job experience and improving your transferable skills.
  • No student debt from tuition fees



Most major aerospace companies run graduate schemes. To access these you will need a degree in a relevant subject.

For graduate schemes in business management or project management companies will usually ask for a minimum 2:1 Bachelor's degree in Business Studies, Sales or Marketing.

For engineering roles you’ll need a minimum 2:1 Bachelor's degree in an engineering, numerical or scientific subject.

Bachelor’s Degrees usually take 3 years to complete during full time study. Candidates usually have to pay university fees which can be up to £9,000 per annum. Information on student finance can be found here.

During your time at university it is also vital that you gain hands on experience whilst studying as this will appeal to future employers. Keep a look out for internships, placements and work experience opportunities. 

UK students should apply for courses via UCAS  who manage the whole selection process for UK students entering undergraduate study. 

For a list of Royal Aeronautical Society Undergraduate Degree listings, click here.

So what are the benefits of the graduate career route?

  • With engineering being in the number 3 position of the top 10 highest paid degrees, expect a higher than average starting salary of anything up to £28,000.
  • Gaining valuable qualifications from a university degree.
  • Salary progression - most companies increase your salary as you progress through the company.

Still not sure which route is for you? Have a look at some of the links below to some useful websites:

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