Lucy Fisher recently completed a three-year apprenticeship and NVQ Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering with Spirit AeroSystems.  Lucy is now a fully qualified aircraft fitter, based at Spirit’s Belfast site.

What made you want to pursue a career in the sector and an apprenticeship?

I knew I didn’t want an office-based career and was keen to pick up practical skills. Instead of progressing after sixth-form to university, I decided an apprenticeship would be more useful and rewarding.  It meant I could learn a trade and gain skills and knowledge, all while earning a wage.

The idea of structured learning while I worked appealed to me.  The programme supports you through an NVQ Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering, which is a great career foundation.  I’m now in my second year of studying an HNC in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, which will open up lots of opportunities for me at Spirit.

What is your day-to-day role like?

I now work on the systems line for one of our fuselage programmes at Spirit, where I’m involved in supporting the hydraulic systems for the aircraft. Our team is responsible for fitting, swaging, sealing and testing the hydraulic pipes. Working with a group of skilled and very supportive production operatives has helped me gain confidence. I now carry out my own assignments daily to progress the job and enable the product to move along to the next line.

Have you worked on any interesting projects / programmes during your apprenticeship?

You’re required to have additional licensed skills, such as swaging, to work on hydraulics. As a result, I’ve received additional training, equipping me with even more skills. My apprenticeship also included an ICT course.

What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship, has anything surprised you?

I acquired an extensive amount of knowledge and skills during my apprenticeship, which I draw on every day. I enjoyed being part of a team and getting to know other apprentices, who had similar career aspirations.  I really feel that I belong in this industry now.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship?

Definitely. My apprenticeship has developed me in so many ways. It has helped give direction to my career path. I realised quite quickly how much I enjoyed the training school environment and whilst moving into live production at Spirit was a whole new experience, I found it both challenging and exciting!

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?

I would say don’t hesitate, absolutely go for it!   An apprenticeship is such an amazing way to learn, work and earn, all at the same time.   I know, for sure, choosing an apprenticeship rather than a university degree was the right decision for me.