“I can’t help but acknowledge my personal transformation”
As an 18-year-old aviation enthusiast living near Heathrow, the allure of planes soaring above me every day was irresistible. My childhood hobby of spotting planes fuelled my desire to work for an airline. The bustling operations, the sheer magnitude of the aircraft, and the constant wave of activity at the airport were like a magnet pulling me toward a career in aviation.
While university was an option, I opted for an apprenticeship for its direct access to specific training and hands-on experience. Choosing British Airways for my apprenticeship was a natural decision. The airline’s diverse fleet and vast network of destinations were compelling reasons. From the iconic A380s to the sleek A350s, each aircraft presented a unique challenge and an opportunity to expand my knowledge.
When I first arrived at the hangar was in complete awe. The scale of the aircraft up close and personal was nothing like I imagined – it was incredible. I was warmly greeted by my apprenticeship business partner who made me feel at ease.
In the first couple of weeks, I shadowed seasoned engineers. I was eager to learn as much as possible, so I absorbed the meticulous processes for each task, gradually gaining more responsibilities as I built trust and confidence. Working alongside experienced colleagues, I realised they viewed apprentices as the future of the industry and a valued member of the team. Their investment in sharing knowledge and taking the time to ensure tasks were done correctly reflected their commitment to our development.
The experience I gained during my apprenticeship surpassed my expectations. From deciphering complex wiring systems to understanding intricate pipe layouts, the aviation world unfolded before me. The blend of theory modules to reinforce knowledge and practical tests became a routine, paving the way toward preparing for exams and obtaining my maintenance license.
Reflecting on the challenges, the first year posed a significant change. Living away from home and the demands of exam preparation tested my resilience. The transition to night shifts presented its own hurdles, adjusting to a new schedule and staying alert during those crucial hours.
However, amidst these challenges, there were moments of pride. Completing my first job independently – fixing the water compressor on an A380 to restore functionality to a toilet sink – remains etched in my memory. These accomplishments fuelled my confidence and reinforced my passion for aircraft maintenance to go on to bigger and more challenging projects.
As I approach my second year, I can’t help but acknowledge my personal transformation. From a college graduate to a more professional individual with clear priorities, the journey has shaped me in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
To those considering an apprenticeship, I would say it’s an invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on experience and build a lasting relationship with the company. As for my future, I envision staying with British Airways and advancing as far as possible within the company. The journey has been challenging, rewarding, and filled with unforgettable moments, and I eagerly anticipate what lies ahead.