With females representing just eight per cent of its engineering department, British Airways has been urging more female candidates to apply to its engineering schemes during National Apprenticeship Week.

The airline is currently seeking candidates for two of its three engineering programmes – Aircraft Maintenance and Aircraft Appearance. Both schemes are open to applicants until the end of March.

Joanna James, Head of Cabin Maintenance, said:  “While the lack of female engineers is a nationwide issue, we’re keen to start highlighting the benefits of this career to girls. Engineering is an excellent profession with great potential for progression and diversification and I would encourage all school leavers, both male and female, to carefully consider it as an option. An apprenticeship is a great way to get a foothold in a company and learn the tools of the trade while earning a salary.”

One current apprentice who has seized the opportunity to embark on a career in engineering is Nicole Mitchell from Glasgow. Nicole is lucky as she has her father and grandfather as role models – both of whom have worked for British Airways as engineers.

Nicole said:  “When I was little, I was always asking my dad how things worked and when he explained it to me, I wanted to find out more.  I was ecstatic to be accepted on British Airways’ Aircraft Appearance scheme and I’m loving it.  I honestly could not have asked for better.  I started in October and was nervous on my first day, but it’s been easy to settle in.  I’ve learned so much.”

Callan Whitehead, Heathrow-based aircraft mechanic and past winner of British Airways Apprentice of the Year, has not looked back since completing her engineering apprenticeship with the airline in 2013.

Callan said:  “I love my job because of the new challenges and variety I experience every day.  My day to day role involves working to fix issues with aircraft that the pilots have informed us of.  I get great satisfaction from working with others to find solutions.  I would recommend going down the apprentice route as you get to learn new skills and gain qualifications while getting paid.”

Last year, British Airways employed 175 apprentice to its 12 apprenticeship schemes across the business, with areas ranging from head office and operations, to IT, finance and project management. Since 2010, more than 500 students have begun apprenticeships, with the majority graduating to permanent roles with the airline.  The airline is currently seeking more than 80 apprentices to join the Aircraft Appearance and Aircraft maintenance schemes.  A third engineering scheme, Business and Administration is due to open to applicants later in the year.

National Apprenticeship Week is from March 9 to 13. it is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

More information about the schemes is available at ba.com/careers.