Home » Your Future Career » How new skills talent is helping aerospace soar into the future

Mehsaan Mohiuddin

Industrial Architect, Airbus

Chloe Sharpe

Customer Services Engineering Apprentice, Airbus

Jerome Blandin

SVP, Head of Broughton Plant, Airbus

Aerospace manufacturing is recruiting the variety of skills it needs from a wide talent pool. There are various routes into the sector, from apprenticeships to graduate programmes.

There’s never been a better time to join the aerospace industry, insists Jerome Blandin, SVP and Head of Airbus’ Broughton Plant, where nearly half of the world’s wings are built. That’s because it’s soaring into a sustainable future.

Designing this sustainability requires a step change in our approach, a vast range of skills from a broad pool of talent — therefore, career opportunities are everywhere you look. “We need people with hands-on, practical assembly skills,” explains Blandin. “We also need the next generation of engineers to lead the transformation of our industry. Airbus is investing heavily in end-to-end digital solutions and cutting-edge technologies that will help deliver the next generation of sustainable aircraft. Plus, we have a demand for creative problem-solvers and people with IT and commercial skills so that our operations and supply chain continue to operate like clockwork.”

This is a diverse industry where highly experienced engineers will always be in demand. But companies like Airbus also want to find and develop the dynamic young talent of tomorrow.

Define the type of engineer you want to be

Take Mehsaan Mohiuddin, who joined the company in 2015 as a manufacturing intern before finishing his engineering degree and then returning in 2017 on the company’s graduate scheme. He’s now working as an industrial architect with a focus on the design and manufacture of wing structures, while being supported by the company to study a Master’s in aerospace manufacturing.

“My internship was the most defining year of my career,” remembers Mohiuddin. “It gave me the chance to put university theory into practice at one of the biggest manufacturers in the UK. It was an amazing experience that helped me define the type of engineer I wanted to be.”

Mohiuddin is excited that disruptive technologies such as robotics, simulation and the digitalisation of industrial systems are set to play a big part in the industry in the years ahead. “For example, robotics will provide the sector with an opportunity to increase repeatability and efficiency, reduce costs and provide safer working environments,” he says. However, he also notes that despite its cutting-edge innovation, the sector will only ever be as good as its people.

My internship was the most defining year of my career.

Fulfilling and rewarding careers that are open to everyone

To support the future needs of a multi-skilled workforce, the company also offers various apprenticeship programmes to build that new talent. Chloe Sharpe — who joined Airbus in 2020 — is currently in the last year of her Level 3 Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technician qualification and would recommend this route to anyone. “As an apprentice, you experience a wide variety of roles across the company,” she says.

Whatever route new applicants take, they don’t need to be experts at the beginning of their careers. “Having a science background is important but so is demonstrating a real enthusiasm for the industry,” says Sharpe. “Employers can teach specialist skills through apprenticeships, graduate schemes and other educational programmes.”

However, she acknowledges the difference between the theory taught in schools and the practical application and the requirements of the workplace. “It’s why I’ve become part of the company’s STEM ambassador team,” says Sharpe. “We go into schools to explain what we do, and we invite students into the company for tours and talks. It’s a way to spark their interest in aerospace and show the industry is open to them, whatever their background, ethnicity or gender.”

Both Sharpe and Mohiuddin are abuzz about the future of aerospace. “It’s such a fulfilling and rewarding career,” says Mohiuddin. “I always get a real sense of pride when I’m at an airport and see a plane I’ve worked on. It’s great to be at the heart of an industry I’m so passionate about.”

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