From education to employment

Albert’s career takes off at Airbus with a Degree Apprenticeship

Opportunity knocked for former postman Albert Brennan when he joined Airbus in Broughton – where his career has taken off with the skills and knowledge he gained during a Degree Apprenticeship.

Albert, 29, from Cefn-y-Bedd, Wrexham, works at the company’s Broughton global centre of excellence for manufacturing, which manufactures wings for Airbus aeroplanes.

He completed a Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6) in Aeronautical Engineering through Swansea University – achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering, and an NVQ Level 4 in Engineering Manufacture.

Continuing his quest for knowledge, Albert is now undertaking a Master’s Degree in Lightweight Structures & Impact Engineering, having been offered a full scholarship by the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC).

Now Albert has been shortlisted for the Higher Apprentice of the Year Award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2022. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 10.

The awards highlight the outstanding achievements, during unprecedented times, of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor for the third year is Openreach.

During his Degree Apprenticeship at Airbus, Albert gained valuable experience through work placements in different departments over two and half years, including design, stress, manufacturing and quality.

For his final year, he worked as a stress engineer, analysing aircraft structures to ensure that they were able to support the loads experienced during flight, whilst continuing to spend one day a week studying at university.

Throughout his apprenticeship, Albert co-ordinated product quality projects relating to aircraft safety, delivered technical stress reports, and developed digital tools, making significant savings for Airbus and generating additional revenue.

He also took the initiative to develop his digital skill set throughout his apprenticeship, and now uses a combination of programming and engineering knowledge to automate processes, analyse data and build dashboards to drive efficiency improvements.

Upon completion of his apprenticeship, Albert was offered a full-time position as a stress engineer at Airbus. He is now an Incorporated Engineer and Associate Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and won the Top Student Award from Swansea University for achieving the highest overall marks in his cohort.

“I feel that completing my Degree Apprenticeship has greatly improved my employability and has taken me from an unskilled manual labour job to a highly skilled professional career.” said Albert. “I hope to be able to work on challenging and interesting projects for the rest of my career and make a significant contribution to society.”

Andrew Baines, Senior Stress Engineer at Airbus, said: “Albert’s maturity brings additional personal qualities, as he’s calm, considered and adapts well to situations. I am glad he has chosen to follow a career at Airbus as a Stress Engineer, and his future looks bright.”

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Albert and all the other shortlisted finalists. “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic,” he said.

“They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.

“As part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government will be investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government.

“We want to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives. The investment will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

Albert Brennan, flying high in his career at Airbus.

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