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Academic qualifications a problem?

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Academic qualifications a problem?

Old 16th Nov 2008, 07:11
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Academic qualifications a problem?

Hi everyone, before i start i would like to apologies if this topic has been tackled in previous threads. I did do some research but i could not find anything in regards to background education for securing a job in aviation industry.
Due to the unfairness nature of this life i was forced to drop out of education before i could achieve any graduation, GCSE`s or any relevant qualifications. I am, financially, edging ever closer to starting my dream of being a pilot, after five years of hard work and the last thing i want is to find that my education status will impend me from getting a job after i shelled out 60K for training.
At the current state of the industry securing a job requires everything going for it plus a tone of luck. I want to make sure that, when the time comes, i have everything going for it.
Also, english is my second language and apart the fact that i can speak it, i have no qualifications to prove it.
How much impact will this have on a piloting career? Working as a FI sounds more than ideal to me, but if i ever get that far i`m sure i`ll want to go further.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 09:53
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Airflight, I do recommend that you sit your GCSE exams. There are adult education centres around the country that will give you all the information required. The lessons are normally done during evenings. Reason been is that you need a base of knowledge for your ATPL exams. Maths and science will be quite important.
Hope this helps.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 11:06
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Certainly having a grounding in maths and science can't do any harm. Your lack of education will not help when it comes to the ATPL exams and it must be said, quite a lot of the practical flying.

However if you can overcome that, it won't really impact your career as a pilot because what actually counts is your licences and ratings. Potential employers really have little interest in your school exams.

Despite what people think there are no actual educational requirements for pilots unless going into the military. But you do really need to have some form of foundation if you're going to get through the training.

As for your Engish, that is tested now as per ICAO rules and noted on your licence. If you pass all your exams and flying in English. That's a pretty good indication of your proficiency.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 11:30
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Potential employers really have little interest in your school exams.
You think!

What will happen is that the "potential employers" will file the application in a "special pile" they use when weeding out applications to provide a shortlist of those they want to call for interview. I have serious doubts you will find a chief pilot who asks his secretary to include applications from those with no educational qualifications at all.

To the original poster. You can obtain GCSE's through correspondance courses as well as nightschool and courses offered by your local education authority. Add this to your list of requirements, because no employer will care about the "unfairness of life."
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 15:27
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You're joking, beyond a certain point in your career it's sufficient to mention on your CV that once upon a time you attended school and did some exams.

Somehow or other I think any chief pilot is more interested in your flying experience than whether or not you did Home economics in school.

But it is fair to say that a good academic background will not do anyone any harm at all, not least with getting through exam grind. That much is true.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 15:50
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An air taxi firm "might" not care about your school education, but every single airline will.

As previously said above, the recruitment agencies sifting through vast amounts of similar CV's will quickly throw out your application before any chief pilot has read it.

Airline websites themselves state a requirement of usually at least A-Levels.

You hint in your post that you want to go onto Airline work. Well if that is the case, I would strongly suggest you get at the very least maths and physics GCSE's done.

Being able to talk about putting in the effort to get your GCSE's will also make you shine at interview.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 15:58
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No, not joking at all. When you say "beyond a certain point", if you are recruiting Captains with years of previous experience you might have a point. I say might because it would still be a little strange to see a CV that didn't list examination results as they are a landmark achievment. Nevertheless the relevance of them may be less in those circumstances.

This is a wannabees forum, and the suggestion that an absence of good examination results on a CV or application would be irrelevant is risible. You might want to believe that, but it isn't the case. For any position there are usually hundreds of applicants. You cannot interview any more than a small proportion of those applicants, so it is necessary to whittle them down to those whose presentation (on their CV or application) gives them the best chance of success.

At this level we are talking about low experienced applicants for an airline pilots job. Any company is going to expect to see a good educational background as evidenced by appropriate qualifications. Most people have them, and they are expected. Indeed to stand out, those achievements should be in good subjects and at good grade. If you believe otherwise, good luck!
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 16:21
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I don't know about you but, my CV is one page long so it just does not have enough space to list every single grade that I have achieved in non aviation related areas during the course of my life. All that space is reserved for the details of all my FLIGHT experience, ratings, licences and QUALIFICATIONS.

However if GCSEs is the only thing you have ever achieved, by all means fill the space on that page with the grades that you got in all the different subjects, you could also list your after school activities, Duke of Edinburgh award, scouts etc. Im sure thats the sort of stuff that will really make all the difference.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 16:52
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An air taxi firm "might" not care about your school education, but every single airline will.
I think most airlines would find the air taxi experience far more valuable than knowing that at some point, 10 or so years ago, you knew enough about the royal family to get a C or higher in GCSE history?

I have poor grades from school, didn't stop me getting an instructing position nor was it an issue when I joined an airline.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 19:52
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You're right Kanu.

If you're old, education wont matter as much. You can make up the difference with other experiences. If you're still at school or recently graduated, then eductaion will matter alot.

But again this is the wannabes forum, not for experienced pilots looking for airline jobs.

I have poor grades from school
Better than zero grades.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 21:43
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Thanks guys, i got the general idea that qualifications might not strictly necessary, but can only bring advantages, especially during the training course. My aim at the moment is working as a FI, but i`m not ruling out working for an airliner, and i want to maximize my chances, and if it means getting those A levels then that`s what i`ll do. My biggest obstacle was the financial side, i`m not too worried about the studying as i have good learning abilities. I`m not saying that the training will be a walk in the park just that, with enough commitment, it can be done.
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Old 18th Nov 2008, 13:27
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I know several people operating wide body airliners for some of the biggest european flag carriers, with no GCSE's.

This is not to say that they are not important, good knowledge of Maths, Physics and English are key to passing the ATPL exams. I would take the exams if you are able to.

As for weeding out your application if you don't have high school exam results ticking certain boxes, not sure I believe that one.
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 10:26
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Education and achievement shows a tangible element of self discipline, which is certainly needed to succeed in aviation. It also shows a tangible level of intelligence. Note the word "tangible" because I am not suggesting for one minute that anyone may not be self disciplined or unintelligent! Its just good proof of what is required.

As for Maths and Physics, yes a good pass at GCSE level would help. However, I take myself as an exception, as I was not proficient in either, however managed to first time all the written stuff, average out at >90% and bag all the flight tests first time too. Not beating my own drum at all by the way, just saying that the MOST important asset you can have is self discipline and gritty determination.
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 12:43
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I was in a similar position around 4 years ago, i had 8 GCSEs and that was it. I applied to the CTC scheme online and they were pretty sure that i was a no-hope case... I was gutted when i got the email basically telling me that i would never be suitable to be a commercial pilot..

I applied to Air Atlantique for the full sponsorship (which i personally think is worth more than any FTE or CTC deal you can get as it is actually a sponsorship!) and got it. When i was going through selection, i was up against university graduates, people with military backgrounds and all were way more qualified than myself..

I still got it, I still passed my ATPLs with a decent average and I have been flying for the company for near two years.

Some people have no qualifications because they can't achieve them, some of us dont have them because of past situations.. I agree that having qualifications wont do any harm, but i wouldnt let anyone tell you that you cant achieve your dream because its down to you..
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 13:38
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Yes there are undoubtably people flying for airlines with educational qualifications that are weak, poor or non existent. However not many in recent years. Whilst nobody is telling anybody that they cannot pursue an ambition because of a poor qualification portfolio, some are choosing to ignore the reality of the numbers game.

Firstly if you are applying for a flying job, it will be a prerequsite that you hold flying licence qualifications, and that is taken as a given. If you don't hold them the application is pointless and is dealt with accordingly. Nobody cares what percentage you scored on your individual papers, because that information isn't certified. You do not get an "A grade" ATPL or a "B" grade CPL/IR. It is a licence that simply required each component part was passed at some point. Every considered application will have this licence and therefore that doesn't help with whittling down the numbers.

Educational qualifications are certified and graded. They also assist an employer in forming an opinion on the level of a candidates effort and past achievement. This is true in many occupations, and flying isn't any different. Whilst there is some merit in the suggestion that a company looking for experience, will place a higher regard on that experience than it will on aged educational qualifications, the point shouldn't be lost that "wannabee" candidates for a job are not likely to fall into that category.

For those who suggest that "qualifications may be helpful, but are not really necessary", I am afraid you are promoting a delusion. If a company states an educational requirement for 5 GCSE's and 2 A-levels, or their equivalent, then that will become the benchmark used by the secretary that weeds out the application file before it is ever passed on for the interview selectors. If that criteria cannot satisfy the numbers required then it may be relaxed until the numbers are met, but nowadays that would be very rare.

It is also worth remembering that the best opportunities are likely to attract the highest number of applications and that numbers game again becomes all important.

Nobody is denying that success can be achieved by people without good educational qualifications, nobody is denying that jobs can be gained by alternative methods, friends or contacts, nepotism, luck , or any other method. It is simply that the numbers do not stack up by those methods. In reality to stand the best chance of success, you should place great importance on your educational achievement, because those potential employers will.
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 15:54
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Right, I am a 737-300/400 and 800 pilot, get paid well and enjoy it, got a B at O Level Maths many many many years ago. also got a B at Science, fat lot of good both of those did me. Can you use a Calculator???? Can you lean some Formula's???? Can you retain information???? Well done you can do it.

My CV does not mention my O Levels, or A Levels. It does not need to. I have friends who all have got flying jobs with jets in the UK in the last few years with NO qualification all!!!!! I have even had a Line Training Captain who never sat an exam in his school life.

My point is this, yes, you should be okay with basic maths, add, subtract, divide, multiply. further than that use the plastic brain (Calculator, to those who have not been to Bristol Groundschool). The CRP-5 is not hard to master. You need to understand English, for deciphering the ATPL's. But don't go back to school for them.
Hard work and you will get there
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 16:46
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The qualifications have nothing to do with piloting ability. Noone is claiming they do.

But until you get a decent amount of hours, your education will help with any job you go for.

You can talk around education once at an interview... the problem is getting past the people choosing who to invite to interview in the first place.

And please, dont encourage wannabes (who may be reading the wannabe forum!) to drop out of school like you did.
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 22:13
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cc2180, I NEVER EVER SAID that you do not need any qualifications, I never said do not go to university, I never said drop out of school. All I did was balance things evenly.

Airflight69 is 26 years old, which means he has finished school and college and even university, unless going for a doctorate.

Education is a wonderful thing, however I a 39 year old male, who used to have a dammed good job as a Designer (and was offered a job 15 years ago with a struggling animation company in Hollywood, who are now huge and I turned them down! 'oh to infinity and beyond'), have never ever been asked about my O Levels or my A levels or my further education in major software design applications.
If you are of school leaving age or just after college then yes go to University and get a degree.

Airflight 69 was asking if the fact that he spoke English as a second language, would this be a problem as he could not prove he spoke it. Well he has to undertake an English test to prove he has Level 4 English or better. He seems to have a good grasp of it.

There are a lot of Wannabes on here and all most of them want is a bit of honest advice. I have tried to give that. I see you are yourself a Wannabe, I wish you all the luck in the world. Right now having a Type Rating and 500 Hours (or more) on Type does not mean you will get a job.
Happy flying
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Old 24th Nov 2008, 23:33
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It depends on his work experience. I'm guessing that there are quite a few posters here who are trying to get into aviation as a first serious job. If this is the case, other than your academic studies you have little to show to a potential employer so your grades do matter as it all they can judge you by.

For those who left school ten years ago or more your CV is going to need to show what you have been doing with yourself during that time and your school results will have far less importance (who cares what you were like as a child when your getting into your late twenties?).

Airflight69 should do evening school in at least GCSE English and Maths as it would be easily manageable and probably be enough to satisfy most Airlines so long as he has actually got proven, useful work experience to show for the last 10 years.
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Old 14th Jan 2009, 17:22
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Hi all

Just woundering if anybody know's anybody who has completed OAA's APP First officer with poor qualifications i.e Only grade C at GCSE and E at A level, is it possible or do you need to more academically qualified to pass such a course in such a short period of time?

Regards

Dfly
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