View Full Version : Rumours that the numbers of new cadet applicants are falling

Wee Weasley Welshman
6th Aug 2016, 20:54
I hear that there is a notable decline in the last year of people with the requisite 120k in the UK starting at the big schools.

Is this true?


7th Aug 2016, 23:12
Not surprised, flying, being a Pilot, no longer as the kudos it once had.

Capt Scribble
9th Aug 2016, 04:34
I expect that we have run out of parents willing to risk the loss of their home for a bank loan, which will at best, will get the offspring a job for 7 months of the year.

9th Aug 2016, 12:25
Not a massive surprise, the requirement to self-sponsor and the sheer funding required to do so has pushed the dream of flying as a career out of reach of most people.

Flying as a career has also lost a lot of its attraction. Relatively poor pay, poor Ts & Cs, no pension, fatiguing rosters, increasing automation, poorly managed airlines and a Hire 'n' Fire culture all combine to make it an unattractive career for increasing numbers of people.

I originally set out with the intention of becoming a Commercial Pilot, however reality soon set in. In short I grew up. I did my PPL but soon realised that getting >100k in debt to have only the fleeting chance of landing a job that paid 25k that would be incredibly insecure was insane.

Instead I went into the world of ATC and didn't look back. Very good pay, good job security, excellent pension and very good Ts & Cs, in a nice part of the world, plus I enjoy the job. Because of this I'm happily married with kids, own a decent house and a decent car, we have a comfortable life. I would not sacrifice any of that at all just for the chance to slave away for MOL or his mates heavily in debt and on crap pay.

I keep my flying in its right place; its for fun and I enjoy it in my spare time.

Chris the Robot
10th Aug 2016, 20:58
When you look at the big engineering firms offering these "degree apprenticeships", it doesn't take a genius to work out where many of the traditional airline applicants are going.

I fly at a gliding club and we have our own cadets who basically get heavily subsidised/free flying in exchange for completing various straightforward tasks on the airfield. Historically, many of these went to the airlines as pilots, however more recently, they seem to be going for engineering. One went to Rolls-Royce in Derby and another has got himself a full-time job inspecting and repairing gliders which he seems to enjoy.

As for pay, an 18 year old school leaver could join an accountancy firm and be on 35-50k with no debt by 23, with good prospects for a Corporate Finance/Investment Banking gig (especially if they're an auditor). Can't say I'd do accountancy, I've done a small amount of related study and it bored me to tears but that's where the money is for school leavers these days.

As I've mentioned on a different thread, there's an excellent video of the training on offer at Hamble in the early 70's, what has happened since has been tragic really. If airlines are short of good applicants these days, they need to create a scheme which rivals what Hamble had to offer. There's only one or two airlines who offer this and I'd guess they have a very nice pool of applicants to select from.

10th Aug 2016, 21:59
I was unsuccessful at Hamble, what a place to have learnt the trade flying Barons.
(Interviewed in 78, evening before surrounded by Asians watching Fawlty Towers and Horizon investigating the use of Hydrogen power for aircraft. BA got a mention and a cheer around the room).

11th Aug 2016, 08:38
We've been told for years that the UK is chronically short of engineers of all disciplines.

What is happening now is that engineers are finally starting to get the pay they deserve. For too long "Engineer" was a catch-all term used to describe anything from a brainbox who designs Space Shuttles to the bloke who looks after the local school (or "Jani" as we called it where I'm from, short for Janitor which is what said occupation was called in the old days). I think nowadays things are starting to change.

There are lots of apprenticeships and graduate programmes appearing out there with very good pay and Ts & Cs and good job security, way in excess of the paltry airlines' offers to pilots who can't seem to guarantee any job security. How anyone can live with that is beyond me.

I did an engineering apprenticeship at a factory straight from school and joined my present company at 23. I didn't do any University Degree. I was on 25k upon walking in the door, 6 years on I am on over double that. My job is as secure as secure can be nowadays, 34 days' leave per year, 6 months' full sick pay, brilliant pension and various assorted benefits. Plus the job is interesting and most days I enjoy it.

Ryanair or Easyjet certainly wouldn't offer me anything like that, plus to even have a chance of getting there I'd have to be sitting in a 6-figure sum of debt. A complete no-brainer.

Hanging around the various gliding and flying clubs I frequent, the number of Engineers is quite incredible. All have a total passion for flying, are professional in attitude and would make superb fulltime pilots. However all reached the same conclusion as me - designing, installing, maintaining and fixing stuff is a way more secure way of looking after your family than selling your sould to Ryanair.

11th Aug 2016, 21:02
On my trial lesson in 1977 the instructor (Mr Welch where are you?) asked me what I wanted to do.
I said be an Airline Pilot. Nah, he said , go for aircraft maintenance, that's where the money is.
Just that those guys I saw maintaining aircraft looked so cold in the Winter working outside.
All the bright young things I see these days all seem to have apprenticeships with British Aerospace or Rolls Royce engineering, even Girls!

I think I realised too late in life that Airline Pilot just a glorified Bus driver.
Not many buses run round here at 2 in the morning.

Train drivers get paid more and can't get lost, they can only go in two directions.

12th Aug 2016, 08:16
Big End Bob, was that instructor Dave Welch?

12th Aug 2016, 09:16
Yes Bob, all the bright folks are getting hoovered up by the big engineering companies, about time too. :)

I think the problem is that airlines don't respect the profession and treat the pilots accordingly, coupled with the fact that despite how bad the industry is people are still selling their souls to the devil, drowning in debt, fighting like ferrets in a sack, in order to get into the profession, because like Tommy the burger man out of Come Fly With Me, "Ah really, really, really want tae be a pilot, like", and nothing will stand in the way of it...

12th Aug 2016, 10:25
I remember bumping into an Ryanair engineer in a Dublin hotel about 15 years ago. He was self employed and working on the -200s overnight. When he told me what he was paid I remember thinking what am I doing.........

12th Aug 2016, 17:57
Yes. Spot on.

12th Aug 2016, 20:35
BigEndBob, I last communicated with Dave at the end of May, he was in fine form.

Chris the Robot
12th Aug 2016, 20:44
The fact that most of the big names (BA, Easyjet, Flybe, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic) now have their own schemes may have cottoned on. Prospective candidates are probably thinking "why would I want to go in untagged at the back of the queue when I can go in on a tagged scheme".

Of course, I imagine that some of these airlines may well recruit untagged folk but I doubt they'd reveal their anticipated future numbers.

Re: Parson's point, subbies can make crazy amounts of money, I know of at least one self employed IT contractor at my gliding club for whom money would appear to not be limiting, he certainly was looking at buying an Open Class machine.

12th Aug 2016, 21:06
Sounds like things are better now in the US for pilots than in the UK...

Chris the Robot
12th Aug 2016, 21:57
I hear there are some fairly decent offers beginning to emerge in the US though I believe students still need to pretty much pay their own way. From what I hear, loads of actual jobs though.

From what I can tell in the UK, there are fewer opportunities but those opportunities tend to involve a bit less financial risk. There's the Aer Lingus scheme which is open to UK applicants, basically an old-school sponsorship opportunity with everything paid for up front by the airline (if only there were more of these). Of course the BA FPP, Virgin FFP and Easyjet's latest offering are available to people from low-income backgrounds though the candidate takes the financial risk.

Shame the Med Charter operators don't currently have programmes open to all backgrounds. I hear that in the 90's Air 2000, Britannia et al used to be great fun, basically work hard, play hard.

14th Aug 2016, 09:53
The grass is always greener........

I have spent my whole career in aircraft maintenance and I wish I had had better advice at school. Friend of mine went into the oil industry straight from school, became a driller. Owned house at 23 and well over half a million in his pension scheme by 35. Was part of the drilling crew that hit north sea oil for the first time. Something to look back on.

30th Aug 2016, 11:56
an 18 year old school leaver could join an accountancy firm and be on 35-50k with no debt by 23, with good prospects for a Corporate Finance/Investment Banking gig (especially if they're an auditor).


... or he could aspire to be a pilot.


Which is why, as they say, there are two types of people in the World: Those who fly aeroplanes - and everyone else ...

(My daughter is a Chartered Accountant by the way and enjoying life in London - and fits the first profile exactly - so I wasn't asked to fork out 100k - good girl ... !!!)

Me, I have a career as a 'Chartered-person' and have flown all my life too. Very bad idea spending all that money on flying training in the end - but I wouldn't have missed it for the World ...

You only live once, so make sure you aren't constrained ... live the dream and then 'retire' to suburbia ...

That's my view ... my life, but it's not for everyone and was certainly NOT what my parents advised ... :)

Mickey Kaye
31st Aug 2016, 18:39
I wonder if the fact that every man and his dog seen to be getting hoovered up by the airlines at the moment. So why pay 60+ grand more than the modular route.

I chatted to a instructor from the other side of the country over the weekend and the school he works at are turning work away because they don't have the instructors to cover it.

Another school local to me will be turning away work this coming weekend because they are short of instructors.

And I visited another local ATO today and they are stuffed because another instructor has just moved onto the airlines.

7th Sep 2016, 17:43
Yes, but if you were to read all the adverts out for instructor positions going, the vacancy is always there due to "a rapidly expanding school", not due to the instructors buggering off after working on minimum wage and craps Ts & Cs for months or years... ;)

8th Sep 2016, 16:08
The industry is rapidly changing, in the cyclical nature it adheres to.

T&Cs are starting to get better and change.

According to a Senior CAA examiner, the whole of Europe is only currently producing half of the required pilots to meet current European demand.

His words were "the next concern is with the quality of training, as the impact will be in the next generation when they become Commanders. Looking at the concerns of automation and recent accidents, which can be attributed to basic flying skills, it is probably no surprise that the CAA major concern going forward is training."

Read from it what you will.

My opinion is that the training industry has relied on retiring airline pilots to keep it going since the end of time, and now due to rapid expansion, and the lack of choice of newbies to instruct, there is a worsening situation.

My two-penneth.


13th Sep 2016, 11:31
My opinion is that the training industry has relied on retiring airline pilots to keep it going since the end of time, and now due to rapid expansion, and the lack of choice of newbies to instruct, there is a worsening situation.

Absolutely, which is why instructors at the flight academies are either young, recent course graduates waiting for their first job or retired airline pilots. There are exceptions of course.

However, when you look at the prospect of a full-time commercial flying instructor position the salaries are laughable - barely a living wage for a single person, let alone for someone with a wife and family. The cadets are paid more ... !!!

So the idea that retired airline pilots with a pension to fall back on will continue to meet the demand is, as A_D has pointed out, is a mis-conception.