Wednesday 13 December 2017

Aircraft apprenticeships not only for boys

Going to college

Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

On a number of occasions I have discussed the welcome growth in alternative education and training opportunities for school-leavers. These include routes into traditional craft trades, such as plastering and electrical, as well as new, or forthcoming, opportunities to pursue apprenticeships in non-traditional areas such as the financial services and insurance sectors.

One of the most exciting recent developments is the relaunch of the Aer Lingus apprentice recruitment. The scheme proved very popular for the four years it ran from 2011 until 2014, during which time it recruited 46 apprentices.

This year, Aer Lingus will be recruiting 10 engineering and maintenance apprentices, and is very keen to encourage female candidates to apply.

Successful applicants will train for four years, in conjunction with the State further education and training authority, SOLAS, in Shannon, as well as Dublin Institute of Technology, leading to a qualification as an aircraft engineer. Like most apprenticeships, the programme will comprise seven phases, involving both classroom and on-the-job training. Interested applicants should log on to Applicants will need to complete an online CV application and do some psychometric testing. Therefore, although there is a 'save' option, it is important that applicants allow themselves some time to complete these sections in order to do their best.

Aer Lingus will be looking out for those with a strong technical and mechanical aptitude. Additionally, it will be seeking candidates who show commitment and enthusiasm, excellent communication, the ability to work on their own and as part of a team, as well as interpersonal skills.

All applicants must have been 16 before March 1 this year and education requirements include a minimum of a Junior Cert, including at least a grade C in higher or ordinary level English, maths and science and a grade D in two other subjects. If an applicant cannot present a minimum Junior Cert C in science, Aer Lingus will also accept technology, technical graphics, materials technology (wood), metalwork or home economics.

While the minimum entry requirements for the programme are very reasonable, these are highly-coveted positions and there is likely to be strong competition for places, including from candidates who will present with Leaving Cert and even degree qualifications.

On completion of the training programme, successful candidates will work for Aer Lingus as aircraft mechanics. However, these skills are in high demand and qualified engineers can work in countries all over the world should they so desire.

This recruitment drive offers successful candidates a great opportunity to train in a field that is dynamic, evolving and interesting. All apprentices will receive a SOLAS training allowance. Applications close on May 8, which leaves five days to apply. In order to complete the best application possible, begin early.

The Insurance Institute also recently launched its programme for September 2017, seeking 100 insurance practitioner apprentices nationwide, leading to an honours degree, through a combination of on-the-job training and online learning. For more see

Several more apprenticeships are due to launch in coming months, providing an alternative to the traditional higher education and further education pathways to qualifications and a career.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

Important dates


Open Evening - Griffith College Dublin

Open Evening - Irish College of Humanities & Applied Science

Information Session - Roslyn Park College/National Learning Network


CAO Information Evening - Cork IT

Reply to offers for decisions received before March 31 - UCAS

May 5

Online Change of Mind facility opens - CAO

Final date for decision on January 15 Applications - UCAS

May 6

* Test Date SAT - SAT College Boards

May 9

Open Evening - Dublin Business School

Q I was told that the CAO closed on May 1. I opened my application back in January but I never entered any courses. I had intended to get back to this but got distracted during the mocks and orals. Is it too late now? Have I missed my chance?

A Do not panic. Yes, a very important deadline passed this week: May 1 is the last date for new applications to the CAO. This deadline is intended for those who did not apply before the February 1 deadline. These candidates may make late applications up to May 1.

From your email it seems that you have made a CAO application, paid your fee and received a CAO number. If this is the case you can add courses to the CAO from between May 5 and July 1, which is known as the change of mind period. Even if you have not entered any courses to date you may do so during this time. The only exceptions are restricted entry courses. These are course that require applicants to participate in some form of assessment beyond Leaving Cert points and entry requirements, including portfolios, auditions or extra tests.

My advice is to start thoroughly researching courses as soon as possible. During the change of mind period, you may enter courses on to the form and amend the lists as often as you like, for free. So, start early and revisit often to ensure you are completely happy with your choices before July 1. Best of luck.

Irish Independent

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