Rhian

Higher Engineering Apprentice - Broughton

Airbus is a leading competitor in the aviation industry and at the forefront of innovation and technology. Being part of this company and having the opportunity to contribute to its success was an experience I hoped to make a reality. This aspiration was achieved when I became a Higher Engineering Apprentice (HEA).

Mathematics is a subject I have always been passionate about and it is this that first sparked my interest in engineering. The engineering concepts and technology that have been implemented to enable aircraft flight and the development of these and new technologies that aids the continuous improvement of products is what inspired me to become a member of the aeronautical engineering community.

As part of my HEA framework I achieved an NVQ Level 2 in Performing Engineering Operations, an NVQ Level 4 in Engineering Leadership, an NC in Aeronautical Engineering, a Foundation Degree in Aeronautical and Mechanical Manufacturing and Essential Skills Level 3.

As well as gaining academic and vocational qualifications, I have worked in different engineering functions within Airbus. Undertaking these different placements helped to determine that Design was the area in which I would like to start and develop my career.

In addition, I was mentored by engineers with many years experience. The knowledge and guidance I obtained from my colleagues was invaluable and really helped develop myself as an engineer.

I also carried out the Airbus intercultural awareness programme. This involved going to Outward Bound and Juist to work with colleagues from Germany and France. The aim of the programme was to work together to achieve a common goal whilst overcoming the intercultural obstacles such as language barriers.

I completed my apprenticeship a year ago and have settled in to my current role as a design engineer in the Single Aisle Wing and Build Support, and I am also studying towards a BEng (Hons) in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering.

In addition to supporting the wing build in my day-to-day role, I have aided a project which saved Airbus approximately €850,000. I also worked to improve current processes/designs to reduce the time taken to build the wing. Currently I am jointly leading a project which aims to create a tool that will automate a current process to increase its efficiency and cost effectiveness.

As my career develops, I will continue to build my knowledge and skills within design with the aspiration to become a design signatory and a technical expert within my field. I have the intention to continue my academic development, and also aim to become Chartered.

As Airbus is an international company I would also relish the opportunity to travel and work at the different sites around the world.

I would encourage young people to consider an apprenticeship as you are able to gain invaluable experience in a live working environment with highly knowledgeable engineers, as well as gaining academic and vocational qualifications. This combination will establish great foundations for you to begin and develop your future career.