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Apprenticeships are crucial to the future of many of the UK’s major industries and aerospace is no different. The UK sector currently employs 3,900 apprentices and ADS is constantly working with both industry and the government to help attract more people to apprenticeships in the sector.

Showing students that high quality apprenticeships can be just as valuable a career route as going to university and breaking any stigma attached to them is vitally important. But the most value comes from the young individuals that live them – the ones that made the choice and haven’t looked back since. They’re the people who will be the main catalyst for the future generations to get into engineering and to choose apprenticeships.

GE Aviation Systems provides an Engineering Degree Apprenticeship which allows young people to “learn while they earn” – they still end up with a degree but they gain experience and earn money while they do it.

Nicole Wilkins is in Year Three of her Engineering Degree Apprenticeship with GE Aviation Systems. She believes she’s had endless opportunities and has been continuously inspired along the way. During her apprenticeship at GE Aviation Systems Nicole has learnt more about the industry and has started to see the impact her work has.

Nicole said:

“Due to the nature of our work and products, it is often easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and how we influence the aviation industry. When given the opportunity to showcase the apprenticeship and the STEM activities we create at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the realisation of what we do became clear. Seeing our products in the cockpits of military and civil aircraft, as well as talking to pilots that use them on a day-to-day basis, made me realise how extraordinary our area of work is and how lucky I am to be part of the aerospace sector.”

Gary Shaw is also on the Degree Apprenticeship scheme at GE Aviation Systems since joining the aerospace industry because of a passion for aviation. Gary wanted the opportunity to obtain a degree but also work on live projects – the Degree Apprenticeship allowed him to do that.

Gary managed to secure the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) Engineering Horizons Bursary through his commitment to the industry. Gary uses his bursary to “pay it forward”, he said:

“The bursary will allow me to go back to the area where I grew up and deliver some workshops and presentations on engineering and the fantastic opportunities that come along with it. I think it is important to show you can achieve great things, achieve a brilliant career and really develop yourself as a person regardless of your background.”

Gary is committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers and it is people like him and Nicole who will secure the future of the aerospace industry.

At Farnborough International Airshow our industries will help to inspire the next generation on Futures Day – 20 July 2018, showing them the different career routes available to them. Find out more here.