Lean Specialist, Filton - Former Apprentice

From a young age I was always amazed with the theory behind flight. At school I enjoyed physics and mathematics, so it was a natural progression for me to follow these on to A-Levels. As the flagship of aviation manufacture, design and support, Airbus attracted me from an early age. When I was 14 years old, I spent a week on site at Filton completing a work experience program.

The experiences which I had in that week ignited my interest in aeronautical engineering and its possibilities I spent a further week of work prior to completing my A-Levels and joining the Airbus Higher Engineering Apprenticeship training.

The scheme allowed me the unique opportunity to study for a Foundation Degree in Aerospace Engineering while working alongside colleagues to gain valuable knowledge of the workplace and an understanding of the key deliverables within. The apprenticeship provided me with the vocational, practical and academic skills. These skills are not something which I would have gained, had I attended university alone.

As part of my training scheme frame work I spent one year learning basic metallic hand skills. This experience gave me an understanding and appreciation of the hard work and craftsmanship that go into creating the end product, and the high quality standard to which it is made. In contrast, I spent the final two years of the apprenticeship working in the Airbus UK Customer Services department, completing various placements around the business while attending lectures on a day release basis.

I graduated from the Higher Engineering Apprenticeship scheme in September 2011, having secured a permanent position within the Engineering and Maintenance Customer Services department. I now work as a Lean Specialist supporting the business (~ 3600 people transnationally).

Lean is focused on the improvement of efficiency and productivity in the business (via Time, Quality or Cost etc.). I now spend 75% of my time supporting the Engineering and Maintenance Customer Service teams transnationally. My work enables me to work on the vanguard of change within the company - no day is ever the same and it's quite exciting to be able to support experts to solve issues one minute and optimize the efficiency of a process the next! I love the challenge this brings. The opportunity to travel so widely within my role is also a great attraction.

I would advise others to be more open minded about their career path, and remind them that sometimes there is more than one way to achieve your goal look back on my relatively small journey and recognize that I don't just have a job, but to have a career.

My long term aim is to take on a transnational leadership role within the company. The best piece of advice which was given to me was to "love the CHALLENGE". I always aim to follow this during my current role and I am looking forward to extending my career to experience new challenges in the future!