Employer profile: Airbus, one of the world's largest aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers
Airbus manufacture the A320 aircraft and even the Mars Earth Return Orbiter!
Aerospace companies design, develop, and manufacture aircraft and spacecraft, but what is it like to work for one? In this guide, you’ll learn all about working at Airbus, what apprenticeship opportunities are available, and how to apply.
Airbus at a glance:
|Locations||We have sites all around the world. Our main manufacturing sites in the UK are in Broughton, Filton, Stevenage, Portsmouth, and Newport.|
|Career sectors||Operations management, crafts and making, geographic and environmental sciences, finance, mechanical engineering, mathematical sciences, manufacturing, product design and engineering, law, business, media and publishing, electrical engineering, computers, maintenance, politics, services, chemicals and materials engineering, administration, building engineering, transport, logistics|
|Post-school pathways options|
We currently offer over 20 apprenticeship programmes across our three main pathways:
|Jobs you might not expect|
Sarah Allsopp, who is a Recruitment Marketing Manager, tells us what it’s really like to work for Airbus.
What does Airbus do?
Airbus is a European aerospace corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, and spacecraft. We also provide a range of products and services related to defence and security, like satellites, space systems, and secure communications systems.
Where is Airbus based?
We have sites all around the world, but our head office is in Toulouse, France. In the UK, our main manufacturing sites are in Broughton, Filton, Stevenage, Portsmouth, and Newport.
Our office-based employees (like our finance, HR, and marketing teams) work flexibly, and generally they’ll spend three days in their nearest Airbus office, and two days working from home.
Our engineers and technical staff work on our manufacturing sites, each of which has a different purpose. For example, our Stevenage site is the biggest space industry site in the UK, and that’s where we make the European Space Agency’s (ESA) wind-sensing satellite, Aeolus. Our Broughton and Filton sites are where we design, test, and manufacture the wings for all Airbus’ A320, A330, and A350 commercial aircraft.
What is your workspace like?
Our offices are open-plan with pods and meeting rooms. At most of our sites you’ll have your own desk, but some offices use hot-desk systems so you’ll sit with different people every day.
Our manufacturing sites have large, industrial spaces with aircraft hangars and complex machinery. Broughton is our biggest manufacturing site with 5,000 employees –it's almost the size of 1,000 football pitches and it manufactures more than 600 wing sets per year. After the wings are built, they’re flown to our sites in Toulouse, Hamburg, and Bremen in a huge aircraft called an Airbus Beluga, which is specially designed to transport aircraft parts!
What are some of the most common roles at Airbus?
One of the most common roles at Airbus is ‘systems engineer’. Their job is to design the complex systems that help our products to adapt in different situations.
For example, aircrafts need a constant supply of fuel to the engines. To help do this, our systems engineers design the fuel systems so they can accurately measure how much fuel is in the tanks, and then communicate this to the pilots. Whilst this sounds simple, there are lots of factors that affect the amount of fuel in the tanks, like temperature, which can range from 40? on the ground to -40? in the sky!
What are some of the most common entry-level roles at Airbus?
Our most common entry-level pathway is our Engineering Degree Apprenticeship. This is a four-year programme, where you’ll spend four days per week on placement and one day per a week on academic leave for your degree.
On your placement days you’ll be on site at our Wing Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, where you’ll develop new tools and technologies (like robotics, automation, and 3D printing) to help improve our wing-building processes.
How can someone join Airbus at entry-level?
We have over 20 apprenticeships available across our three main apprenticeship pathways: craft, technical, and degree-level apprenticeships.
Two popular apprenticeship programmes are our AeroStructures Craft Apprenticeship and our Electromechanical Technical Apprenticeship.
Our AeroStructures Craft Apprenticeship is a three-year hands-on programme where you’ll learn to put together the wings of a commercial aircraft, and gain a Level 3 Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering.
Our Electromechanical Technical Apprenticeship is a three-year programme where you’ll learn about different technical areas of our space products. For example, you’ll learn how we design, engineer, and manufacture propulsion systems using the latest technology. From the programme you’ll gain a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, with the possibility of achieving a Higher National Diploma.
What are the entry requirements for these roles?
To apply to our craft and higher apprenticeships, you’ll need GCSE maths and English at grade 4 or 5, depending on the role.
For our technical and degree-level apprenticeships, you’ll need three A levels (or an equivalent) at grade B/C, but some programmes may ask for higher grades.
Check our website for up-to-date information on entry requirements.
What skills does Airbus look for in applicants?
The key skills we look for include communication, creativity, problem solving, and a strong ability to work in a team. All of these will be looked at in our assessment centres, where you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your skills in a group task and competency-based interview.
What is one top tip to help an entry-level applicant succeed at getting into Airbus?
We value employees who share our passion for aviation, so make sure you communicate your interest in the aerospace industry and Airbus’ products and services. For example, you could look more into our Mars rover project or CityAirbus, our small aircraft powered entirely by electricity.
Does Airbus offer any work experience or internship opportunities?
Airbus offers virtual work experience programmes throughout the year, where you can chat with current apprentices and early career managers.
Airbus also offers a wide range of internships across the company, enabling you to gain experience in engineering, finance, marketing, or supply chain management.
What can students be doing right now to build their experience?
The hiring process at Airbus can be competitive, so it's important to set yourself apart from other candidates.
You can do this by researching the skills required for the roles you’re interested in and developing them, for example through a relevant part-time job.
You can also check the Airbus LinkedIn page and attend our events in order to build your network of professionals. This will give you an opportunity to learn from their experiences and make valuable connections that could help you in the future.
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