View Full Version : Ba

5th Dec 2002, 16:43
I'm graduating from university next summer does anyone know if the BA cadet scheme will be open by then or should I try my luck with another airline, though for some reason I feel I have less chance with them.
Or should I forget it and go on a gap year and wait another year???????:confused:

5th Dec 2002, 17:03
BA has been suspended indefinitely so I highly doubt it will be back running for a while.

Try CTC McAlpine, just to be different from everyone else on this forum :D


5th Dec 2002, 20:17
The BA scheme is closed currently, and looks unlikely to reopen next year as far as I can see. However, a lot can change between now and next summer.

I can't see what good another gap year would do, unless you are suggesting that BA is the only airline you are prepared to consider? Assuming that's not the case, you should apply as soon as you can to anyone you can.

6th Dec 2002, 12:46
I wrote to BA recently, and they said that with the current 'future size and shape' initiative in action, it's unlikely that any external recruitment will take place in the forseeable future. But, it's true that a lot can change quickly in the airline industry. The best thing to do is keep a regular scan going on the ba recruitment website, and keeping in touch with FOD at BA wouldn't be a bad idea.

My guess is that when BA does restart the trainee pilot scheme, there'll be a million and one applicants per place...so definitely keep in touch with as many sponsoring companies as you can. Don't restrict your options in an industry which is highly selective anyway!!

10th Dec 2002, 10:17
I spoke to BA a couple of days ago just to find out and they said that the scheme would be open in the near future, what ever that means:confused:
Is that just lingo to keep me happy?
Is it just easyjet and JMC now that people are applying to?
If I graduate in July do you think its too early to start applying now?
Apologies for all this am new to the pprune!

10th Dec 2002, 10:55

That's interesting news, and is a small but significant change on their proclamations to date. I suspect you're right, that they were trying not to put you off permanently, but up to now they've not been so sensitive! Perhaps there's a glimmer of hope for the future? It may be that the emergence of the CTC-McAlpine (EZ and JMC) scheme has made them wake up to the fact that they're not the only ones in the marketplace, and that they need to start encouraging people now if they're to get a fair share of available wannabes in the future.

This is an interesting new slant on the business; OAT were suggesting in this week's Flight International that they're now finding it difficult to attract good students and that they're now going out to colleges and schools to try and attract more. They suggest that piloting is fast losing its appeal in a competetive employment market, and that the (primarily cost) barriers to entry and the ever-less attractive pay and terms of service of pilots are the main causes of this. BA are just about the only organisation able to positively affect these perceptions.

As for other options, there aren't many - but what there are will be seen here first!

10th Dec 2002, 12:29

Who did you call in BA? Did you speak to anyone senior or was it just customer services?
I have a source high up in pilot recruitment and he has been rather quiet in the last month or so after suggesting the airline may recruit DEPs from January.
Speculation of course. But it is important to speculate from quality sources.

10th Dec 2002, 12:42
scroggs I wouldn't have thought that applied to BA unless their selection is flawed, but I know what OAT mean when they talk about a lack of good students. I've flown with several wannabes who I've been shocked to see go on to further training, because they could not co-operate, or fly the plane, or had taken years and over a hundred hours just to gain a PPL. Many people think the only aptitude they need besides dedication (/obsession) is a large cash sum.

If the quality of fully qualified wannabes is also rather variable that might explain the high percentage of unemployed (unemployable?) fATPL holders, and encourage me to self-sponsor the rest of my training (I'm far from perfect but I'm not a muppet...). But I get the feeling that recruitment isn't meritocratic like that - people get their initial jobs based on contacts or luck and not particularly based on skill or aptitude or how effortlessly they sailed through training - is this correct or am I getting a wrong impression?

10th Dec 2002, 12:49
...now finding it difficult to attract good students and that they're now going out to colleges and schools to try and attract more. They suggest that piloting is fast losing its appeal in a competetive employment market, and that the (primarily cost) barriers to entry and the ever-less attractive pay and terms of service of pilots are the main causes of this.

So the penny if finally starting to drop in the aviation industry? I suppose it was only a matter of time. One of the harsh realities of trying to become a commercial pilot is that it costs a fortune to get the correct bits of paper so you can even be considered for an interview.

The return on investment just doesnt add up. The very very cheapest you could possibly do a CPL/IR/MCC course is GBP35k (realistically think in the region of 45-50k) and what does that get you? These days little more than the possibility to accept more debt to buy your own Type Rating (add another GBP15-20k to the costs).

What will you earn in your first few years as a pilot? Well, you might make GBP30k in your first year (if you are very very lucky), so that means you have a best case scenario of a Return on Investment of -5k. Not very good is it?

Now lets look at another career choice. Do an HNC/HND in Computer Science or Electrical & Electronic Engineering. Government funds the course costs (including exam fees etc). You just need to find beer money. Follow that by self investing approx GBP6K in a Microsoft Certifed Software Engineer/Administrator (MCSE/MCSA) course (probably about 4-6 weeks all in) and hey presto you can start earning from GBP35 per hour. At that rate of pay you will cover your costs within 2 months. After you have built up some experience and a little bit of specialist knowledge you can start charging anywhere up to GBP100 per hour. Generally you work weekdays, can plan holidays/days off earn enough to fly for fun and buy a fast car. No 0400 report times. Check out this thread Typical Pilot's Day (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=72411) for more detail on the working life in aviation.

If you were thinking logically and sensibly what option would you choose?

Airlines are lucky at the moment, there is an over supply of pilots and still enough silly sods like myself who are willing to pay through the nose to realise our ambitions, but the question that aviation companies may have to start addressing is this: if the aviation industry is to expand at the levels forecast, where are all the pilots going to come from?

Being a pilot may well still be regarded by the masses as being a "glamour job" but just by reading sites like PPRuNe, a lot of the mystique is removed.

Yes, it is a very rewarding and fulfilling career <but> we still have to put food on the table and have some form of home/social life. Everyone needs to find a balance between professional life and private life. Depending on what company you work for that may or may not be possible.

OATS may well be going to schools and colleges, but has been pointed out many times, they are still just selling a product. A very expensive product. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of that product. Most people could accept the risk of spending GBP6k with the possibilty of getting work at the end. How many are willing to accept the risk of spending GBP60k for an even more uncertain prospect of work?

I realise that this forum is filled with many rose coloured spectacle wearers, but aviation is an expensive game to get into and the rewards are getting less and the opportunities, at the moment, fewer.

I fear that things may well get worse before they get better.

10th Dec 2002, 13:24
When I spoke to BA I just rang the recruitment helpline, but the woman didn't know much so she put me on hold!
Then after about 15 mins she came back on saying that she had spoken to pilot management and said that she had been told "the near future" and I should regularly check back for updates
I wonder if there are people in BA saying different things to people

Sorry to be stupid but what is OAT?
No good candidates around?
Hopefully I'll be a good candidate.
When I got to the final board before with BA they said that they would have hired me if I was a bit older! Now I am!
I think job for the Xmas holidays is to fill in any application I can find
I'm going to get this (whether with BA or not) by hook or by crook!!!!

10th Dec 2002, 13:39
OAT = Oxford Air Training

10th Dec 2002, 13:45
johnbeevers - well then we can clearly see that BA have management issues, and no strategy that anyone there knows about. :(

Anyhow - hope you've done some flying and a good range of work and other activities to put on your applications - you should also know basic things like who OATS are - catch 22, now that you're older you'll surely need to have gained more than just age to be successful!

Johnny 7
10th Dec 2002, 14:47
There was an article in Flight about 2 months ago which had the MD at OAT saying the same sort of stuff - not attracting young people etc . Surely this is normal when the industry is slow ?

Pedantic I know but Oxford Air Training School became Oxford Aviation Training a couple of years ago .

10th Dec 2002, 15:38
Johnny 7 there are bound to be fewer wannabes when jobs are few and far between - and the industry itself is looking a little sick - but I don't think that outfits like Oxford have been short of customers in the past. I do believe that the public perception of our profession - if you can call it that - is changing, and not before time. There's a very good thread on Aircrew Notices where various pilots describe their working days. The number of disillusioned, fed up, overworked and underpaid pilots is increasing rapidly, as that thread shows, and that will have ramifications for recruiting.

Let's face it, train drivers, taxi drivers, policemen above sergeant and soon all firemen earn more than a regional pilot, and they have better protection against unscrupulous working practices, better pensions, and more predictable lifestyles. Airlines and air travel are often the 'villain of the piece' in the media, especially the Daily Mail, and it's not much fun if you're on the end of the stick the public can give you on, say, a day when French air traffic is on strike. The appeal of aviation is rapidly withering for many.

carb yes, the quality of all wannabes is variable, as you would expect. Those that self-sponsor through training are somewhat more variable than those who go through a selection process - again, as you would expect. These facts have always been so. As for recruiting being a meritocracy, that entirely depends who's doing it and what methods they use. Many smaller outfits can't afford to run open recruiting competitions, and rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from those already in the company. Even in large companies that recruit from the pool of experienced pilots, having a good reputation is as important - maybe more important -as doing well at interview. That's true in many fields. However, most airlines recruit entirely through a process of practical and theoretical assessment at interview and simulator. Of course, the assessment of whether a process is meritocratic depends on the observer's point of view. The 'merits' required to be a pilot in any given company may be far more than just a licence and a desire to do the job.

stella arrival
11th Dec 2002, 00:16
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, there are some things you can't be taught but have to learn. An awful lot of pilots will tell you that the job is not what it is cracked up to be, you'd be better off as a lawyer etc. etc. etc. But every pilot has been through the obsessional bug that you are going through right now, and the fact is that if you really really want to be a pilot then nothing we say will put you off, so go and do it and find out for yourself. There will be times when you will regret ever having started it, but there will also be times when you are very glad you did. Don't be blinkered into thinking that BA or the RAF are the only ways in, Air Atlantique among others offer a sponsorship scheme worth a look. Don't be afraid to ask questions which you think might show you in a bad light, anyone who mocks you for not knowing who OATS are is only showing their own lack of willingness to be helpful. Sod it, if you don't know what an aileron is for, ask!!! If flying aeroplanes is what you really want to do then good luck to you, but make sure that you are really certain because the industry is generally insecure, difficult to get into, easy to be pushed out of, riddled with people who hide behind seniority lists and convince themselves they are something special. But I like it.

Johnny 7
11th Dec 2002, 02:03
Scroggs I agree with your points regarding disillusionment amongst the workforce but there still exists a large potential customer base for the likes of Oxford who are motivated & resourceful - this forum is surely testament to that . I think the comments made in Flight reflect the lack of regular corporate sponsors that OAT has traditionally hosted . This is the first time in about ten years that the school has not had a supply of airline sponsored students on the horizon & hence the numbers need to be made up from the self-sponsored population . I've not seen the figures but my feeling is that there are not enough of the latter group to make up the shortfall - not that fewer are training , rather that more are not .

It would be interesting to see feedback from other schools as to whether self-sponsored student numbers are actually falling , or indeed from the CAA regarding CPL/IR issue amongst the non-airline sponsored community .

JAA may also have had an effect on licence issue - with the demise of the 'self-improver' route I wonder how many don't go down the modular path who would have done so under the old system - not really an issue with the CAP509/Integrated argument but interesting nevertheless ?

Off topic I know but not something I've seen discussed here .

11th Dec 2002, 07:21
Stella Arrival

Your penultimate sentence is a very important one:
If flying aeroplanes is what you really want to do then good luck to you, but make sure that you are really certain because the industry is generally insecure, difficult to get into, easy to be pushed out of, riddled with people who hide behind seniority lists and convince themselves they are something special.

Maybe age is making me more cynical, but once you have spent your large wad of cash and got your shiney new CPL/IR (fATPL) what next? Once you have spent a couple of hundred pounds on mailing every airline in europe and had 3 replies to your mailshot of over 150, you will start to feel a little more jaded, possibly even bitter and twisted.

It is easy to be blinkered into thinking that BA and the RAF are the only ways into flying, but only a tiny tiny minority of those who apply are ever going to make into a flying job through that route. The easyJet JMC CTC schemes are currently the only full sponsorships available, but again there will only be a very small number who be awarded those sponsorships.

CTC, you have to love them really, they were at least partly responsible for making sure we all had to have MCC courses bought privately rather than provided by an employer, then they raised the financial bar with thier AQC, and now they have a new product to sell. Hmmmmm.....the cynic in me again.

Johnny7, there have been other posts/threads about the number of CPL/IR issues, and from I can remember there has indeed been a drop in the number of licences issued recently.

In the two years March 2000 - March 2002 the CAA issued 300 IRs to CPL(A) holders. That's 150 per year.

All through the late nineties, the CAA was issuing 400 IRs per year, year in year out.

This from the CAA's own published licensing statistics.

Even up to 10/09/2001 it was difficult going trying to get a job in aviation. The period 1999-2001 is now being regarded as a "good time" for hiring, and even then there was a relatively large number of experienced Kiwi's Ozmates and Seff Effrikans coming into the UK to take up jobs with the Lo-Co's. It was still hard then, and now we are saying these are gloomy times - but the truth be known it has always been tough.

I think the change to the JAA Modular system has and will continue to make it too expensive for many. There are some that say that it is now cheaper to do an integrated course than it was in the 1990's yadda yadda yadda, but Christ Almighty, 60k is still 60k. It is a shedload of money to gamble on a dream.

Now we have airlines that are making huge profits, no mean feat in the aviation industry, asking us to foot their training bill.

I am not trying to put anyone off a career in aviation, but people should be aware of what it is like before they get into it.

B clam
11th Dec 2002, 10:32
Hi chaps/chapesses,

don't want to get youre hopes up too much but BA will have to recruit next year in order to fly the planned program, The Company are retiring pilots quicker than you can say 'hire me'.

All of the TEPs/DEPs who were employed but with no course are now coming on line. There are a few people who have completed or who are in the selection process but not enough to satisy requirements.

I don't know what the plans are for cadet/DEP entry but bottom line is that pilots are required.

As an aside, with the new pay restructuring hopefully going to be accepted, the deal ain't half bad. Not the finished article but a good way there.

I am ex-mil, ex-charter and I am glad I made the move.

All the best in your careers.:)

11th Dec 2002, 11:05
I'd love to know where this misconception is from that taxi drivers earn as much as train drivers or similar. For an average 95 hours a week as an owner last year I struggled to match a train drivers 40 hour weekly wage!!!!! Hence the wannabee status ; both myself and my family would love me to work a turbo prop FO's hours.

I have to agree with the majority that if you have the obsession to fly you will find a way IF you try hard enough

11th Dec 2002, 12:18
Mr Sock has it right

This industry is awash with people at the bottom of the food chain

The CAA site indicates that the no of fATPL+ in the UK with current medicals is about 14,000 with only 7,000 airline pilots
in the UK that means that 50% are still in GA - where many will stay

The job of an airline pilot is becoming more insecure and they are working longer hours for less money. It becoming LESS attractive as a career option and what has the JAA done to help?

1. Increased cost to 60K?
2. Increased competition for jobs in the UK as all the failed carries offload their crews into the UK (They have JAA ATPLs)
3. Increased difficulty levels of Exams and Flight tests
4. Added new components to licencing and training requirements

No wonder so many training organisations have gone .. SFT etc

At the end of the day if you get into this industry young are selected on aptitude and are sponsored that is good

The modular self-selected route for many - especially in later life is often a BIG mistake - It leads nowhere

One of the main costs to training is the hours building one does
which is done for free in effect if you factor this is then many will have spent over 100,000 in lost income added to training cost

At the end of the day there are just too many of us.....

Wee Weasley Welshman
11th Dec 2002, 12:47
Well it is a fact that a CAP509 course in 1992 cost almost exactly the same as an Integrated course in 2002.

So in one way the cost of training has not increased. The industry is bigger now than a decade ago when - alone - Ryanair (46 Boeings) and easyJet (64 Boeings) didn't even exist.

If you are unaware of the pilot hiring market of the early nineties then rest assured, it was just as dire and possibly worse than now.

Not that its much comfort of course.

BA may or may not re-open their cadet scheme next year. They probably don't know themselves. So I would suggest working on the assumption that they don't and make your plans accordingly.

Good luck,


11th Dec 2002, 13:19
I remember when I went throught the selection process in the late nineties (99 in fact) they were going on about the problems in the early 90's due to the gulf war and they were still recruiting then to make up for the deficit caused by the problems in the early 90's and during that time everybody else nicked their pilots and that they weren't going to make that mistake again.
Plus they did also say that around 50% of their Captains were reaching retirement age and that must still be going on, and leave a descrepancy
I'm hopeful that things will pick up by next summer, we are constantly told in the media about the doubling etc in air travel by whenever
This makes me sound like I really wanna work for BA, but in reality I wanna be a pilot full stop.

11th Dec 2002, 18:42
cloud69 I think Scroggs may have been referring to London Black Cabbies, who do earn good money depending on how many hours they decide to put in.

I have heard estimates between 30K to 90K a year....it all depends on how much you work. However you have to work hard to make the big bucks. They do say 'There's no such thing as a poor London Cabbie' but I'm not sure how true that is.

Still with the IT and Finance industries shagged it could be a new way of funding your ATPL! Hard to pass the 'knowledge' exams though, only a 30% pass rate and some people take years riding around London on a moped to learn the routes.

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