According to the Women’s Engineering Society, only 6% of the engineering work force in the UK is female. The figure is slightly higher at British Airways, with females representing 8% of its engineering department, but the airline is seeking to recruit more female engineers.
During National Apprenticeship Week (March 9-13), British Airways is urging more female candidates to apply to its engineering apprenticeship schemes. The airline is currently seeking candidates for two of its three engineering programs – Aircraft Maintenance and Aircraft Appearance. Both schemes are open to applicants until the end of March.
Joanna James, British Airways’ head of cabin maintenance, said: “While the lack of female engineers is a nationwide issue, we’re keen to start highlighting the benefits of this career to girls. Engineering is an excellent profession with great potential for progression and diversification and I would encourage all school leavers, both male and female, to carefully consider it as an option. An apprenticeship is a great way to get a foothold in a company and learn the tools of the trade while earning a salary.”
One current British Airways apprentice who has seized the opportunity to embark on a career in cabin appearance engineering is Nicole Mitchell from Glasgow. Nicole is lucky as she has her father and grandfather as role models – both of whom have worked for British Airways as engineers.
She said: “When I was little, I was always asking my dad how things worked and when he explained it to me, I wanted to find out more. I was ecstatic to be accepted on British Airways’ Aircraft Appearance scheme and I’m loving it. I honestly could not have asked for better. I started in October and was nervous on my first day, but it’s been easy to settle in. I’ve learned so much.”
Last year, British Airways employed 175 apprentice to its 12 apprenticeship schemes across the business, with areas ranging from head office and operations, to IT, finance and project management. Since 2010, more than 500 students have begun apprenticeships, with the majority graduating to permanent roles with the airline. The airline is currently seeking more than 80 apprentices to join the Aircraft Appearance and Aircraft maintenance schemes. A third engineering scheme, Business and Administration is due to open to applicants later in the year.
Posted March 11, 2015