Aviation apprenticeships – what’s on offer?

Are you looking for a fast-paced career that involves travel and centres around people? You might be suited for a career as a member of the cabin crew or another role in the aviation industry.

The aviation industry contributes approximately £20 billion annually to the UK economy and accounts for around 230,000 jobs. Those jobs are spread over airports, aircraft, and private companies. 

From cabin crew, HR and Commercial, to airport operations and air traffic control, there are many opportunities open to hardworking and ambitious apprentices. 

Along with the chance to travel, perks include discounted flights, a varied schedule and cutting-edge technology.

Types of Airline Apprenticeships

We have covered pilot apprenticeships in a previous article. However, several types of apprenticeships provide a gateway into the aviation industry. 

Cabin Crew 

After pilots, most people think of cabin crew when they think of an airline. Many of the biggest UK airlines offer cabin crew apprenticeships. Also called flight attendants, stewards or host/hostesses, cabin crew are responsible for catering, customer safety and comfort, with some minimal aircraft maintenance such as cleaning. 


This varied role includes pricing holidays, liaising with hotel buyers, developing holiday brochures and forecasting travel trends among other duties. 


This apprenticeship program involves working as part of different teams, including Talent Acquisition, Reward, the Early Talent Team and Employee Relations.

Airport Operations

This category of apprenticeships encompasses customer-facing roles such as check-in ticket desks and customer service/airport information and behind-the-scenes duties such as baggage handlers, ramp operatives and dispatchers. 

Air Traffic Control

Air traffic controllers use the latest technology to provide clear and timely instructions and information to pilots and aircraft operatives. One of the primary responsibilities is to ensure no collisions occur. 

Airline degree apprenticeships

You can find airline degree apprenticeships, such as cabin crew and on-the-ground aviation apprenticeships, focusing on job roles within a busy airport. Some of these apprenticeship programmes require you to already work at the airport in a less senior capacity and are designed for career progression rather than those just starting. You can also do an airline degree apprenticeship if you have qualifications in relevant subjects (eg maths, science, business or IT) and are looking to switch careers. 

Entry requirements?

To be eligible to apply for a UK apprenticeship programme:

  • You must be 16 or older
  • You must not be in full-time education
  • You must be a UK resident or have the right to work in the UK

For many airline apprenticeships, there are specific requirements you must meet to apply, such as:

  • You must be 18 or older when you commence your training
  • You must hold a UK, Irish or EU passport, valid for at least six month
  • You need to be able to reach a minimum height of 6’2 with bare feet flat on the floor
  • You must be fluent in spoken and written English
  • You must be able to swim 25 metres unaided

For cabin crew, you must also obtain a full and valid Airside ID, and a UK Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Check or equivalent, and pass a Cabin Crew Medical Report carried out by an approved Aeromedical Examiner.

You will also be subject to an overseas criminal record check and submit to drug and alcohol testing. 

Apprentice Levels

Apprenticeships are available at different levels. Each level represents the required experience and qualifications you can earn. Apprenticeship levels are as follows include:

Level 2 (intermediate) – equivalent to 5 GCSEs (grades 9 to 4)

British Airways offers 3-month Future Leaders Internships to school leavers over the Summer. Apprentices earn £18,000 pro rata.

Level 3 (advanced) – equivalent to 2 A-levels

TUI offers Level 3 Commercial Apprenticeships, along with apprenticeships in retail, finance, engineering, and more. 

Levels 4 and 5 (higher) – equivalent to a foundation degree 

Major UK airports such as Manchester Airport offer apprenticeships from Level 2 up to Level 7. 

Levels 6 and 7 (degree)

These programmes offer you the opportunity to earn a full bachelor’s and/or master’s degree, often in less time than a traditional degree, and without taking out a hefty student loan. 

Airbus offers year-long placements to undergraduates and also operates a global graduate programme. 

Take to the skies

As the UK airline industry continues to evolve, career opportunities remain diverse and dynamic. From pilots and cabin crew to engineers and ground staff, the industry offers a range of fulfilling roles.

With a commitment to innovation and adaptability, individuals pursuing careers in this field contribute to shaping the future of aviation while fostering a global community connected by the skies.

Relax. We’ll send the jobs to you.

Reckon you know what you want to do, but can’t find the perfect role? Most companies hire their apprentices in a ‘recruitment window’. This means many great jobs are only available for a short time once or twice each year.

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