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build I repair I maintain
Train and maintain Case study
Aircraft engineers maintain, inspect and service aircraft to achieve
internationally-approved licences and sustain aviation’s high safety
standards all over the globe. Specialising in either mechanics
Mark Staines
21, Airframe Fitter, Marshall Aerospace
or avionics, you could join a unique club of qualified aircraft
engineers who work for airlines, maintenance, repair and overhaul “I really enjoy my work due to the variety involved, from carrying out
(MRO) divisions of aerospace manufacturers or specialist aircraft

repairs to testing engines, it’s definitely not routine!” – Mark Staines
maintenance companies. The General Aviation (GA) community, which
spans a huge range of activities from Flying Clubs to business jets Mark Staines works for Marshall Aerospace, a large UK company

below 5700Kg, also requires qualified engineers. With the majority of based in Cambridge specialising in aircraft design, manufacture,
currently qualified maintenance engineers due to retire over the next maintenance, conversion, modification and logistic support. Mark’s
ten years, there are likely to be plenty of employment opportunities in career in aircraft engineering began when he was at school and did
the future. a careers profiling exercise, with aircraft engineering coming out as
one of the recommended choices in relation to his skills and interests.
Getting there Mark says, “My school did encourage me to go to university but I knew
Traditionally, the entry route to aircraft maintenance is via an I wanted to be more hands-on.” So he opted to do a BTEC Aircraft
apprenticeship in industry, with companies sponsoring the Engineering at college and then joined an apprenticeship scheme
preparation for qualifications such as NVQ/HNC and the EASA- with a company based at Stansted Airport, which included day-release
approved licences (see last page). college study and preparation for the licensed engineering modules.

Many companies are investing heavily in training opportunities, Unfortunately, he was made redundant from that scheme, but
offering several types of entry routes: the Apprenticeship route for then successfully applied to the Marshall Aerospace apprenticeship
school leavers; ‘Higher’ apprenticeships for those leaving further programme. This also included college study leading to a City and
education and graduate routes for engineering graduates hoping to Guilds Aircraft Engineering certificate as well as on-the-job training
enter the field. In addition, some companies have training schemes which led to a National Vocational Qualfication Level 3. Marshall

for people from other professions, who may have never considered Aerospace is renowned for its excellent standard of training which
aircraft maintenance as a career. incorporates college study, on-the-job training and courses at their
own Training Centre.
Nevertheless, many airlines have slimmed down their aircraft
maintenance divisions, transferring their engineering to work to other Now Mark works on the C-130 Hercules aircraft and says, “Every day
airlines or specialist maintenance companies, resulting in an overall is different, it’s definitely not an office job and it is physical: you have
to be ready to climb right into the aircraft!” Mark is now keen to take

decrease in apprenticeship opportunities. However, there are now an
increasing number university courses offering an alternative route the next step in the Marshall Aerospace career pathway by becoming a
while further education (FE) colleges also have training courses, often Supervisor, this will entail looking after a team of people, carrying out
incorporating work experience opportunities. inspections and signing off work. With the company there is already
a specific programme of training to help Mark progress in his career.
The RAF also offers engineering training and roles working on In addition, Mark is also completing his Part-66 licensed engineering
state-of-the-art technology. School leavers can enter as Mechanical qualification and is receiving additional support from his company to
specialists in the General Technician trade who work on everything pay for the examination fees.
from heavy plant machinery to hydraulic lifts for aircraft. The RAF’s
technician training earns you a National Engineering Certificate at “I would really recommend this work to any young person who likes
Level 3 and an Advanced Apprenticeship, including an NVQ Level 3. engineering and wants a hands-on role,” says Mark. “Although it’s not
always easy to find an apprenticeship, lots of apprentices here have

Qualifications required are three GCSEs/SCEs at Grade C/3 minimum
or equivalent in English language, maths and an approved science/ come down from places like Manchester to join the programme. They
technology-based subject. (Joining age: 16-29.) know it is highly regarded in the industry and an excellent place to
develop a worthwhile and really interesting career.”
Graduates can apply for the RAF’s Engineer Officer route for which
other professional qualifications are also considered (GCSE English
grade C/3 minimum also required).
EASA Aircraft Maintenance Licensing
EASA is the European Aviation Safety Agency. In the UK, licences are awarded by
the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which also approves training organisations.
The Part-66 Licence System
‘Part-66’ is the common European legal framework for certifying licensed aircraft
engineers in EASA member states, like the UK. There are three categories.
• Category A – Permits the holder to provide limited certification of inspection
and maintenance tasks or detect simple rectification.
• Category B – Provides the standard licence for practitioners, divided into B1
(mechanics - engines, airframes etc.) and B2 (avionics - instrumentation, electrical/
electronic equipment) subcategories. Holders may provide Certificate of Release
of Service of aircraft following maintenance and repair tasks. Category B licences
require more in-depth aircraft maintenance knowledge than category A.
• Category C – Permits the holder to issue certificates of release to service following
base maintenance on aircraft (when the aircraft is stripped down for complete
service and overhaul). The work will be carried out by B1 or B2 licensed engineers
therefore often a C licence applicant usually already holds a B1 or B2 licence.
All licences are dependent on the completion of appropriate qualifications and
obtaining relevant practical experience. Completion of a special Part-147 course
allows holders to apply for a Part-66 licence with less practical experience. Aircraft
Type rating qualifications are also required.
Applicants may study for basic licence examinations before they have acquired all
the practical experience required as examination passes are valid for up to five years.

Find out more

EASA Kingston University
CAA University of Glamorgan
Air Skill COVE
Marshall Aerospace Apprenticeships - EEF
(Engineering Employers Federation)
Monarch Aircraft Engineering
Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers

We can help
The Royal Aeronautical Society Careers Centre can provide information on
UK aircraft maintenance providers, course listings making job applications, and more! Produced in partnership with the SBAC
+44 (0) 20 7670 4300 2008