Are you a student or recent graduate and wondering about where your future is heading?
Knowing exactly what you want to do and where you want to work can seem daunting early on in your career. However, fear not as help could be at hand. Work experience is one of the best ways to find out more about the number of different paths available to you, along with being a great platform for building great contacts and expanding your CV.
While it may not be as simple as picking up the phone and bagging work experience, there are a number of ways you can develop your experience, and here’s our top 5 ways how.
Internships and work placements
Internships can take many forms, from one-year ‘sandwich’ placements, usually aimed at undergraduate university students who have completed two years of their degree (sometimes after year three if on an MEng programme) to summer placements. Bigger companies will often follow similar application patterns as graduate employment schemes, with online application forms which open at the start of the Autumn, and close at the end.
However, if you approach smaller companies, they may be more flexible on their application dates. Ensure to enrol with the careers service so you can be updated with all the latest opportunities as they become available.
If you fancy taking the bull by the horns, you could always apply for an internship or work placement to a company that isn’t advertising for someone. Your enthusiasm will make you stand out, and it might just convince them to take a chance on you.
Another way of getting experience is suggesting that could provide assistance during the summer months – a time when a lot of staff will typically be off on their annual leave.
Aviation is a natural passion for many people, particularly the history of aviation. Up and down the UK, there are many aviation heritage museums which you could be a part of. Look out for the chance to volunteer in any aircraft restoration projects as they are great ways of developing your teamwork and project management skills – all which will look great on your CV.
You have to be in it to win it! There are numerous competitions on and offline which you could take part in – and some with fantastic prizes! We recommend the Flying Start Challenge. Even if you don’t win, just taking part shows great enthusiasm and innovation. Plus you never know who you’ll meet along the way!
Join a club
Air safety is of paramount importance in aviation and aerospace, so developing that mindset early on will only serve you well later on in your career. Accessing placements with airlines and airports can be tricky due to restrictions on security and age. However, by joining a flying club, you’ll be able to connect with thousands of other individuals who fly as a hobby.
There are many aerodromes in the UK with flying clubs, all which could potentially give you experience and insight you’re looking for. Furthermore, look out for aerodromes that are close to major airports or aviation manufacturers as you may make some useful connections with other members of the club.
Many people who work in the industry fly as a hobby, but not commercially. You never know who you might get chatting to!
When all else fails
Don’t be disheartened if you feel like none of these are working out for you. Even working or volunteering for a company outside of the aviation industry can help you to develop your skills – all which can be transferable once the opportunity arises.
Employers want to see that you can not only do a job, but that you’ll fit in with the team, that you can work independently and responsibly. You can show these skills in any job so don’t be afraid to showcase what you’ve learnt when you need to.
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