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Aerospace Engineering Technician Profile

Aerospace Engineering Technician Profile


Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Aerospace Engineering Technician. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Aerospace Engineering Technician
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Aerospace Engineering Technician Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Aerospace engineering technicians use their mechanical, electrical or electronics skills to help build, maintain and repair aeroplanes and helicopters, missiles, satellites and space vehicles. They work as part of a team and might specialise in airframes, hydraulics, engines, fuel, pneumatics or avionics.

• In design work, they use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to turn ideas into plans for new aircraft, or to improve existing aircraft.
• In research and development, they solve complex engineering problems caused by weight, altitude, temperature and engine performance.
• In repair and maintenance, they carry out the regular servicing and repair of aircraft.

Standard working hours are usually 37 to 40 hours a week, but overtime or weekend work is sometimes required. Technicians involved in research and design usually work in clean, quiet laboratories and research centres, but all engineers also visit factory production areas, which may be noisy. Technicians may have to spend short periods away from home.

Aerospace engineering technicians need to:

• have practical skills with tools and instruments
• be good at maths and computing, with a logical approach to problem solving
• understand engineering drawings and principles
• have an interest in aircraft and flight technology.

There are career opportunities with a range of private companies - from small employers to large multinational aerospace manufacturers and airline operators. Other employers include the Armed Forces, government departments and agencies, and regulatory authorities like the Civil Aviation Authority. Many airlines have their own maintenance division, and training schemes and sponsorship schemes are available.

An important entry route is with an employer as a technician apprentice. Most apprentices start aged 16 to 18, but entry is possible up to 25. Entry is generally with four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), including maths and science or technology, or equivalent qualifications. Adults with experience in engineering are usually welcomed. With experience, technicians should aim to get the qualification EngTech. To achieve this they must register formally with the Engineering Council UK.

Promotion prospects are good and could be to engineering posts or, with experience and higher qualifications, to management roles. It is usually necessary to gain incorporated or chartered engineer status to enter higher level jobs.

What does the role encounter?

Aerospace engineering technicians work in teams designing and manufacturing new aircraft, or maintaining existing ones. They work on highly sophisticated craft such as aeroplanes and helicopters, missiles, satellites and space vehicles.

They might be specialist mechanical, electrical, electronics or even chemical engineering technicians who apply their knowledge to the aircraft industry. They might specialise in:

• airframes - the construction and maintenance of airframes and wings
• hydraulics - the operation of aircraft controls, ailerons, elevators and flaps
• engines - piston or gas turbine engines
• fuel - storage and use of specialist fuels
• pneumatics - air compression used in jet engines and in aircraft controls
• avionics - electrical and communication systems.

The work of an aerospace engineering technician could involve:

Design - using computer-aided design (CAD) systems to turn ideas into plans for new aircraft, or to improve existing aircraft. They may help build and test prototypes.

Research and development - solving complex engineering problems caused by weight, altitude, temperature and engine performance.

Repair and maintenance - carrying out the regular servicing and repair of aircraft, working with craftsmen and women, and taking responsibility for inspection, performance and meeting deadlines.

Working on aerospace projects involves teams of people, so aerospace technicians could be working with many different types of engineer, designer, manufacturer and, of course, the pilots or users of the aircraft.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Technicians normally work 37 to 40 hours a week. Hours can be considerably longer if there is a project deadline to meet or to fit in with timetables for testing an aircraft. This could involve working evenings and weekends.
Technicians involved in research and design usually work in clean, quiet laboratories and research centres, but all engineers also visit factory production areas, which may be noisy. They may also have to visit aircraft at airfields, which are often windswept and noisy, to inspect or test aircraft functions.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are only a guide.

• Apprentices earn around £10,000 to £14,000 a year.
• With experience and qualifications this can rise to around £20,000.
• Senior technicians can earn up to £30,000 a year.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have the following skills:

• have practical skills with tools and instruments
• be good at maths and computing
• have good communication skills
• understand engineering drawings and principles
• be able to work in an organised way
• be good team workers
• have a logical approach to problem solving
• be able to read diagrams and drawings
• be keen to keep up to date with new developments and technology
• have normal colour vision.

What type of training will I receive?

Trainee technicians should aim to get the qualification EngTech. To achieve this they must register formally with the Engineering Council UK as an engineering technician, and will need:

• an appropriate qualification such as an NVQ/SVQ Level 3, AVCE/GSVQ Level III, BTEC national certificate or diploma, or an SQA national certificate group award
• to demonstrate initial professional development, including suitable further training and relevant work experience
• to be a member of a licensed professional engineering institution that offers EngTech registration, such as the RAeS or the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE).

The RAeS and the IIE have alternative schemes for adults who want to become chartered engineers, incorporated engineers or engineering technicians, but who do not have the normal academic qualifications. These schemes take into account previous knowledge and experience.

Career Progression:

There are very good promotion opportunities for engineering technicians working in all areas, and the broad skills they learn can be extremely useful in other branches of engineering. Promotion could be to engineering posts or, with experience and higher qualifications, to management roles. Incorporated or chartered engineer status is usually required to gain promotion to higher level jobs.

There are good opportunities to work overseas with British firms of consulting engineers working for foreign governments, or with overseas aircraft construction companies who employ British technicians.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes please see the following category:

Aerospace Engineers.

Where can I find further information?

ECIS (The Engineering Careers Information Service - a function of SEMTA), 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT. 0800 282167 and 0808 100 3682. Website: www.enginuity.org.uk and www.semta.org.uk

The Engineering Council UK, 10 Maltravers Street, London WC2R 3ER. 020 7240 7891. Website: www.engc.org.uk

Engineering and Technology Board (etb), 10 Maltravers Street, London WC2R 3ER. 020 7240 7333. Website: www.etechb.co.uk.

The Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE), Savoy Hill House, Savoy Hill, London WC2R OBS. 020 7836 3357. Website: www.iie.org.uk

RAF Careers. Website: www.rafcareers.com

Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. 020 7670 4300. Website: www.raes.org.uk

SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance), 14 Upton Road, Watford WD18 0JT. 0808 100 3682. Website: www.semta.org.uk

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), Duxbury House, 60 Petty France, Victoria, London SW1H 9EU. 020 722 7100. Website: www.sbac.co.uk

For careers in space, check out the British National Space Centre (BNSC) at www.bnsc.gov.uk, European Space Agency (ESA) at www.esa.int and NASA at www.hq.nasa.gov

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

Aeronautical Journal
Aeronautical Journal
Aerospace Journal
Aerospace Professional
Aviation Week
Flight International.

Other Useful Aerospace Engineering Technician Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Aerospace Engineering Technician job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Aerospace Engineering Technician Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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