Breaking the barriers to entry for the next generation of aviation’s workforce

Breaking the barriers to entry for the next generation of aviation’s workforce

Marshall Skills Academy recently attended the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Autumn Recruitment Fair to talk to people who are interested in pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace.

The RAeS recruitment fair, which took place on 2 November at the society’s headquarters in Hamilton Place, London, brings together its industry partnerships and thriving network of members to promote career opportunities in aerospace, space, aviation, MRO and air transport operations through apprenticeships, training courses and graduate schemes.

As one of the world’s only recruitment events dedicated to the aerospace and aviation community, the recruitment fair attracted a range from visitors from young people seeking apprenticeships and graduate employment, to experienced professionals from engineering and operations, as well as service leavers looking to make their next career move.

As well as Marshall Skills Academy, exhibitors at the fair included Leonardo, BAE Systems, the RAF, Boeing, and Bristow Helicopters.

Challenging a dwindling workforce

The Marshall Skills Academy team was encouraged to see how many young people at the RAeS fair were interested in pursuing a career in an industry that is crying out for new talent, as well as the many options available for the next generation in aviation and aerospace.

However, there was a growing sense of frustration among those in attendance around the difficulty of gaining relevant and direct work experience, particularly from young people who have chosen a degree route.

The growing labour shortage in aviation engineering and maintenance was highlighted at the recent MRO Europe Conference & Exhibition, the largest event of its kind in Europe where industry experts converge to explore and define the aviation maintenance industry.

A key takeaway from the conference was that a dwindling workforce is causing challenges across aerospace, aviation, MRO, OME and air transport operations across the UK and Europe. Coupled with this, there still seems to be large barriers to entry into the industry that needs to be addressed in order to close the widening skills gap.

Many organisations at MRO Europe expressed concerns about attracting young people into careers in aviation. However, it was clear from the large turnout that many aspiring professionals are trying to gain work experience in the industry, signalling no shortage of people wanting to get their foot in the door.

The bigger challenge, it seems, is the shortage of opportunities for young people following a degree pathway, as opposed to apprenticeship routes.

Championing apprenticeships

During the RAeS fair, the Marshall Skills Academy team received feedback from parents and young people which suggested that the UK’s secondary education system still champions engineering degrees over apprenticeships, even though there are limited graduate opportunities available for those looking for work experience and entry level roles.

Graduate placements are a requirement for degree students, but students are responsible for finding these opportunities themselves, and graduate placements seem hard to find.

In contrast, apprenticeships negates this issue as experience is gained throughout their qualification, and apprentices often remain in permanent employment once they are qualified.

The Marshall Group has a proud legacy of delivering industry-leading engineering apprenticeships for over 100 years and has trained thousands of skilled aerospace engineers and technicians.

Introduced to deliver extraordinary apprenticeship programmes both internally and externally to industry partners, Marshall Skills Academy is committed to developing young professionals and help them grow their careers, as well as addressing the growing skills gap.

The Academy’s deeply embedded culture of passing on specialist knowledge and continuously nurturing new engineers has become instrumental in building a robust talent pipeline that aims to future-proof the aviation industry, all while equipping young people with the skills and behaviours that are required for success.