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Mike Bristowe

Supply Chain Quality Manager, Airbus

One determined young man pursuing his dream career with a global aerospace pioneer is grateful there are so many entry points available and is proof that tenacity pays off.

Mike Bristowe knows only too well the many, varied opportunities there are for young people wishing to work at Airbus having experienced several himself. 

His passion for aviation started young, but his determination to pursue a career with one of the world’s leading builders of aircraft is impressive, and ultimately his efforts have been rewarded with a job and responsibilities that he loves and relishes. 

He is now a Supply Chain Quality Manager working within the procurement team, based at Filton, near Bristol. 

Quality and safety first 

“My job is to make sure all the components being installed meet our quality, cost and arrival time requirements. Fundamentally, I am working to ensure all our aircraft are safe and the parts I manage are safe.”  

“I work directly with suppliers of parts for the fuel systems across all of our aircraft programmes, to ensure the quality of the products they are delivering to us, and the crucial role they play in aircraft safety,” he explains. 

Navigating to that position resulted in a few diversions for Bristowe who as a sixth former, first applied for the company’s undergraduate apprenticeship programme. However, not quite achieving the A-Level grades required meant putting himself through university. 

During his degree in Aerospace Engineering and Design at the University of the West of England, in Bristol, he applied for a one-year internship within the Ground Support Equipment team, where he gained his first valuable working experiences.

With the opportunity to shape how the industry tackles decarbonisation,  I see an exciting future and career ahead.

Determined to succeed 

However, on gaining his degree, he found out just how competitive the programme was and decided to study for a Masters to improve his chances of getting into the scheme. 

“The scheme is incredibly competitive, but ultimately getting into Airbus was my goal so I spent another year doing my Masters degree and then after applying again won a position as an Infrastructure Management Graduate within Defence and Space,” he says.

During his tenure, the ever-ambitious Bristowe managed to secure a five-month placement overseas in Germany within the Helicopter division, working on an inspiring project to develop a virtual reality application to help speed up the process of repair and maintenance on the aircraft. 

“I organised it myself by using my network of contacts I’d already gained and by asking if there were any projects I could help with,” he explains. “Succeeding meant I scored the Airbus hat-trick as I have now worked in all three divisions of the company thus experiencing the pure breadth of career avenues, even at this early stage of my career.” 

“With so many opportunities, I do envisage a long-term career here. With the opportunity to shape how the industry tackles decarbonisation, I see an exciting future and career ahead.”

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