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-   -   How can BEng Graduates become B1 Licensed Maintenance Engineers? (https://www.pprune.org/engineers-technicians/507202-how-can-beng-graduates-become-b1-licensed-maintenance-engineers.html)

philw492 5th Feb 2013 20:15

How can BEng Graduates become B1 Licensed Maintenance Engineers?

I'm a current 2nd year Aerospace Engineering student at the University of Liverpool and I want to become a Licensed B1 Engineer rather than someone who sits behind a desk or someone in manufacturing/design (not that there's anything wrong with it I'm just more of a practical person).

I understand straight away that I will be told I'm doing the wrong thing but originally I signed up toe the MEng course with the intention of joining the RAF upon graduation, however after joining the reserves at university I decided it wasn't the job I wanted. So after a bit of luck I managed to get three week placement with an airline on line maintenance and base maintenance working with Bombardier Q400 and Embraer 175/195 aircraft and a further three weeks this Easter. After that placement I found out that the degree was the wrong route for that job and that I should have done an apprenticeship. So anyway I've decided to get my Part-66 application logbook to log the experience I have so far with the aim of getting more placements to gain experience. However, after consulting the Royal Aeronautical Society I am dropping off the MEng course and have been told that there are ways in for BEng graduates to the hands-on shift work that I know I want to do and enjoy.

The trouble I am having at the moment is I do not know where to go to get into the industry as all I can find is apprenticeship's and instead of helping me and advising me the airlines I have emailed so far have just told me that I will be ineligible for apprenticeships and have offered no help as to how to get into the career I want (the ones who have actually replied that is). Obviously at this stage leaving university would be a drastic, last choice. But with 17 months until graduation I am worried that the degree might hinder rather than help.

Does anyone know anything that could help, someone who can help or where to get help from, please?


Pilotage 5th Feb 2013 21:07

Start again!

Your BEng/MEng education is directed completely wrongly for maintenance. If it's really what you want to do, duck out, start again from scratch.

The degree will do no harm, but little good.

Sorry, that's just how it is.


kapton 5th Feb 2013 21:55


Stay on your BEng course. In the long run it is a far easier route into aeronautical engineering than going down the licensed route. Whoever it was in the RAES who advised you about getting into shift work from a BEng course is a clown. Take my advice, find him, and punch him as hard as you possibly can. I can understand you enjoyed your work placement, but I hope you don't take offence in me saying that you were looking at it from the point of view from having no responsibility. So you were able to enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, being a Licensed Engineer is a very rewarding and satisfying job, but you can use your BEng in a number of ways. Now you have started down that route, complete it, and then make your decision. Rolls Royce, and BAE have a number of vacancies on graduate schemes which will give you a satisfying and challenging career. If I am not wrong there are also practical elements in the courses run by those companies. The RAF route would probably be the most secure, and funnily enough, quite rewarding financially for you. But to be quite honest, a commissioned RAF engineer is about as useful as a chocolate hammer when it comes to practical aircraft maintenance engineering. They tend to end up in QA, or bluffing their way in project management. Yes, as a licensed engineer you will come across very technically demanding problems, and it can be very satisfying when you finally solve a problem that has been a right pain in the backside. But would you still enjoy it when you have your arm up a toilet waste pipe to free up a blockage, or strapped onto the top of a cherry picker in a howling gale while replacing a poxy filament. No doubt other engineers will give you other advice, but only you can make the final decision. Whatever you decide, good luck for the future.

philw492 5th Feb 2013 23:42

Pilotage: Today especially after seeing that the Virgin Atlantic apprenticeship reopens for admissions next month I am hugely tempted to drop out. Just need the reassurance first that at the moment I cannot get into that career path via the degree.

Kapton: I agree with what your saying but being Britain it was June on placement and we had thunderstorms for two days and it was after 4 hours standing in the rain holding jubilee clips and sockets at the foot of a set of ladders under a Q400 wing when I realised I was still enjoying placement. Even the hours spent pulling up the non-slip flooring in an E195 forward cargo bay and re-laying the new stuff didn't put me off, and at 6"2' it wasn't comfortable! I think the placement I undertook including night shifts wasn't a watered down glossy look at the job as I have got my CAA logbook and attempting to gain as much experience as possible. I know it might sound sad but it doesn't faze me with the bad points, every job has a bad side but it still interests me. I still want to assess all options so I'll take a look at the Rolls-Royce and BAE suggestions of yours, so thanks I appreciate them.

Ultimately I've been wanting clarification as at the moment I have either got no answer or useless ones that don't help. Like I said to Pilotage the VA apprenticeship opening up again has spurred me on into exploring more avenues of seeking help. I've tried emails, LinkedIn and even begun writing a blog to attempt to get noticed! Thanks for your replies! They are greatly appreciated!

turbroprop 6th Feb 2013 10:05

Hello Phil

Kapton is correct, 17 months is not that long to finish your degree. In my calculation with all your student holidays you only have about 3 weeks of study left.

Once you have your degree it will open up many job opportunities. If you still what a licence remember it takes a minimum of five years to get, wether you study full or part time. I have know a guy with a degree who worked in the technical department. Studied for his exams part time. He did his work experience doing overtime.

Now licenced I am sure if he wished to move up the career ladder, his degree I am sure will be an asset.

Good luck mate

Dr Illitout 6th Feb 2013 10:34

Hi Phil
I can only agree with all the other posts. DON'T THROW AWAY THE DEGREE!!!. It is far more useful on "The outside"

Rgds Dr I

Hydromet 6th Feb 2013 11:24

I'm not in the aviation industry, but I've had several junior staff and more recently, students, who have completed a degree and then decided to get into a different field of work. I have to say that it's an area that's interesting, reasonably well payed and enjoyable if you're the right type of person and enjoy hard physical work, but it doesn't require a degree. Without an exception that I can think of, they have enjoyed their work, and their degree, whether in the humanities or sciences, has not hindered them.

ericferret 6th Feb 2013 11:24

I also agree that throwing away the degreee would be a mistake. It is "far more useful on the outside" unless of course what you really want is to be a licensed engineer!!!!!!!!
Sounds facetious, but not really, that degree could give you an edge later in your career or an alternative if things go wrong. You have invested the time so dont throw it away.

My employer has recently taken on apprentices in their mid twenties so it is not impossible to get a position slightly later in life. The attitude taken by some employers is something of a joke. The drop out rate for apprentices is high whereas someone like you who has a proven abilty to stay the course would be a much better bet.

philw492 6th Feb 2013 13:43

Thanks everyone for the replies.

I agree ditching the degree is my last option. I am also looking at the possiblity of transferring universities and courses to the BEng Aircraft Maintenance degree at the University of Glamorgan depending on the compatability of my current course to theirs.

The worry I have is that, although some of you have said that there are managers out there that take on older apprentices, I cannot find anyone who can offer anything at any of the airlines yet. I definitely want to go down the licensed route as that job is my first choice for career; even after 4 hours on a stormy day last June getting drenched at the foot of a platform under a Q400 wing holding jubilee clips, bolts and sockets for the engineer whilst trying to identify the issue with the de-icing system on the leading edge of the starboard wing I was thoroughly enjoying myself. May sound sad to some people but I can't think of a job I would enjoy more, the atmosphere was great, the jobs I helped on were great (even the hours where all 6ft 2 of me was crammed in the forward cargo hold of an Embraer 195 removing the non-slip floor and re-laying it was enjoyable!).

So at the moment I am panicking that I will end up at my current workplace at an outdoors shop selling boots and rucksacks for years trying to find one airline that would take me on for my EASA Part-66 B1 Licence.

Once again thanks for the replies, I've got more replies on here than all the replies I have received from airlines in total and I've emailed a lot of airlines!

P.S. I apologise for the spelling mistakes in the original post, Apple autocorrect was living up to it's fantastic reputation!

T.R Haychemu 6th Feb 2013 15:16

Like many have said, the course you are on won't get you into being an LAE really. That said, I would 100% recommend you stay on and finish it. As an LAE further down the line in your career, having extra qualifications in Aerospace Engineering may set you ahead for that 'next step' into something like Tech Services, Maintrol, or management, should you decide that you fancy a change at a date.

My other peice of advice is to start sitting your Module exams NOW :). Decide if you want to be B1 (Airframe/Engine) or B2 (Avionics), and get plugging away at some exams. The Maths/Physics/Electrics modules shouldn't worry you too much as your Uni (and/or ALevels) course will have tought you much of what you need.

In the 17months you have left, you could get quite a few modules under your belt, and if you can spare the time, keep getting as many placements as you can in your holidays!

Pilotage 7th Feb 2013 17:28


My other peice of advice is to start sitting your Module exams NOW . Decide if you want to be B1 (Airframe/Engine) or B2 (Avionics), and get plugging away at some exams. The Maths/Physics/Electrics modules shouldn't worry you too much as your Uni (and/or ALevels) course will have tought you much of what you need.
Not feasible during termtime, but the 10 week summer break at most UK universities lends itself to this sort of thing. Certainly I agree that a graduate engineer who is also a licenced engineer potentially has a valuable skillset, IF they actually have worked in both professional environments.


bvcu 7th Feb 2013 18:39

Whole system has become a farce , where are the proffessional skilled technicians to do the work ? How can someone be a B1 or B2 LAE without being a skilled technician first ? Should be a proper skill test as required by FAA to become a 'MECHANIC' . And to become an LAE they should go back to a proper oral.

banditb6 7th Feb 2013 19:23

As previously posted I would stick with the degree if you can, Im sure it will eventually pay off. Have you thought about GA or is it purely the big stuff you are wanting to work on?

If the Airlines have already said that you would be over qualified for an apprenticeship then does this not already answer your question?

As far as the exams go I would maybe check first on the validity of them without having the experience requirements?! If its all good then crack on, the exams are only available 1 day a month I believe so I am sure you would be able to work something out and you would maybe stand bigger chance of passing whilst you are still learning with the degree.

Just remember 17 months is nothing compared with the other 45-50 years you have ahead of you in your working life!

philw492 7th Feb 2013 20:22

Banditb6: I understand where you're coming from and partly yes it answers my question, but I have been told by the RAES that there have been plenty of people in the same situation manage to get into the industry. What I want to know is how they have done it as the RAES have said is to carry on with the BEng and just try and contact as many people in airlines as possible.

My aim is to carry on and try and get the exams if possible, I have also been looking at moving abroad due to job availability and Australia is my first choice. The degree gets me in for at least 18 months without any hassle and minimal paperwork. Then with the exams I will have sat over here with the CAA will be compatible with the CASA system and will be recognised by them so I could continue my study for the licence over there. The problem I have is that no one can give me a definitive answer on what happens after university for a graduate wanting to be a licenced engineer. I am in way too far now to come out with 12,000 of debt and nothing to show for it!

The reason for me coming to PPRuNe is to see if there is anyone on here with any knowledge, advice or even someone who could help me achieve my ambition. Experience wise I have the offer of working with the same airline during my holidays for the rest of uni, however, I am always looking for more experience as I would like a broader knowledge of aircraft types to put me in a better position once I have completed the degree.

Hopefully, upon graduation I will have the degree, experience for at least 6 weeks (3 done already, 3 coming up in March) as a worst case on the Q400, E175 and E195, an Arkwright Scholarship sponsored by the Royal Air Force, a B.S.A Gold Crest Award in Engineering from working with Aero Engine Controls, six days experience working on the Boeing C-17A with the RAF and a weeks worth of experience at a UK Airport. With all this I am hoping that it is evident that from school I have been trying to broaden my knowledge and experience with the aim to show that I have thoroughly thought through which route I want to take. What I don't understand is why an apprenticeship system would not take a graduate at 21 years old who is highly motivated and has a broader knowledge of the engineering world (I like to think I have as much as I possibly could) so has chosen the exact path they want to take meaning that I am as sure as is possible that the licensed engineer route is the one I want to take.

I don't know if anyone else found this at sixth form, but careers advice seemed more to be advice on which degree to do rather than where to go. I have no idea if this was down to just my school but sixth forms for me and my friends seemed to be aiming more towards getting as many people into a university as possible rather than giving them the advice they actually wanted. Admitedly at first my aim was the RAF but I always stated a hands-on practical job was what I wanted, and as an engineer officer that is far from what the job entails. It seemed to me that the careers advisor heard aircaft and immediately thought aerospace engineering degree.

banditb6 7th Feb 2013 21:48

Have you thought about getting a fitters Job with an Airline or other to get your experience requirements after you have graduated?

After spending 2 years trying to get onto an Airline Apprenticeship scheme I decided that they are only interested in young people that I assume they get government funding for and they can mould into the Engineers they require.

Have you looked at GA as a way in?

Easy Street 7th Feb 2013 22:13

Finish the degree. Take these tips and don't list it on CVs for jobs that do not require it.

philw492 7th Feb 2013 22:53

Banditb6: I'm really sorry if I sound a bit stupid but what do you mean by GA? Do you mean general aviation? Sorry still catching up with the acronyms. I had been advised about the fitters job route however after speaking to various airline careers departments they don't tend to employ many with the exception I think being monarch.

Easy Street: Thank you for the link it is a useful article and I might have to use some of those tips. A family member had the same situation with his career path and said to just not include the degree on applications, the only worry I have about that is what do I say I've done for the three year gap in my CV when I have been at university. Then again I presume if I'm at the point where they are asking me that question I'll have got passed the CV stage. Thank you for your help.

banditb6 7th Feb 2013 23:12

Yes sorry I mean General Aviation, small single and twin piston aircraft. Monarch have just built a new Maintenance facility at Birmingham I belive although im sure someone more in the know will soon be along!?

philw492 7th Feb 2013 23:21

No in all honesty I haven't actually thought about GA to be honest I wouldn't know where to look off the top of my head as I have been focussing on airlines.

Yes they have just started building the largest hangar in the UK there due for completion in the summer and operation around septemeber. This evening I've actually had a reply from monarch and they have said to me that they do not discriminate who does the apprenticeship! They have also announced today when their apprenticeship application went live that they will be doing some at Birmingham. So that definitely looks plausible so far however I am worried that it only mentioned up to A licence class so I will have to do some more digging for information, but the email this evening has certainly lifted my spirits that there now seems to be at least one avenue to follow up!

Pilotage 8th Feb 2013 11:03


Originally Posted by philw492 (Post 7682362)
No in all honesty I haven't actually thought about GA to be honest I wouldn't know where to look off the top of my head as I have been focussing on airlines.

Very simple really - go to your nearest GA airfield, find a hangar doing maintenance, and ask politely.


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