PPRuNe Forums

PPRuNe Forums (https://www.pprune.org/)
-   Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies-14/)
-   -   Uni or not? (Merged 2013) (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies/443595-uni-not-merged-2013-a.html)

myleshigh 22nd Feb 2011 13:40

Uni or not? (Merged 2013)
Hello, I am new to this forum and would very much appreciate some advice. Firstly, I am currently studying for my 'A' levels (geology, biology, ICT, and Politics). I am not sure whether I want to go to university or not. If I don't go I will be the only person in generations of my family not to have studied for a degree which is a little daunting. However, given the current climate in education, I wonder if the money spent on university fees etc would be better going towards my modular pilot studies. Does anyone have any advice on this? Do airlines prefer candidates to have traditional degrees? Will the fact that I am not studying Maths or Physics at 'A' level be a disadvantage?
Another concern for me has arisen from reading other threads about studying at different training schools. If I don't go to university, my plan would be to stay at home and get a job to self fund the different levels of training and examinations up to commercial pilot level which is the ultimate goal. If I were to do my training at a local flight school, would that be less desirable to future employers than if I were to attend a more well known school?
I have not mentioned that I have virtually no flying experience.

stevop21 22nd Feb 2011 13:53

Hi There,

I am also 16 and studying for A-Levels but I am doing maths and physics. From what I have read here I don't believe the maths gets any harder than GCSE level and maybe a bit of trig for working out crosswind and headwind components. I don't think it will put you at a huge disadvantage maybe just a bit slower at realising than the guys who did the maths A level? I would try to practise some mental arithmetic every day just to keep your maths sharp as I doubt you are using it now. When I go down to the petrol station near my college for lunch I always add the bill in my head and also do the same of my friends. It just helps to keep your basic maths sharp.

There is a very useful thread here about degrees

I would take a few hours to read it all

I don't believe school matters that much, ryanair takes guys from anyway. Although the only time I can think of a well known provider being an advantage was for BA SSP a while ago. Hopefully someone else can clear that up a bit better than I have :ok:

You are only 16 so not flying experience isn't a problem now, I have about 4 hours in a PA-28

Good luck!

4015 22nd Feb 2011 15:03

Guys, let me give you some advice from my perspective.

At 16, the idea of being in your early twenties without flying is horrific. However, that is more than likely going to be the case no matter what route you take.

Should you go to uni? If you ask anyone a few years older than you, and anyone in the know, the answer is most likely "if you can, then yes". Here's why:
1. You will have something to fall back on, and indeed be able to get a decent well paid job whilst you wait for the first flying job.
2. You will have fun. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you need to be flying for a job by the age of 19. Relax, get out of your parent's house, and grow up. It will take most of university to grow up and learn who you actually are.
3. You get out of your parent's house, and get the opportunity to do things you would not otherwise be able to. The level of maturity of people I know who went to university was far above that of those who didn't, until at least the mid twenties.
4. You will actually have things to talk about in interviews. (Insert aircraft operator here) want their pilots to have life experience. Most pax do not want to see a mid pubescent kid with acne and bumfluff flying their aircraft.
5. Just to reiterate, you will grow up. I can't drill this down enough.
6. If you take a look at most pilots these days, a degree is a given. The competition for jobs is high, and anything you have which puts you higher in the food chain is worth having.

As for the lack of maths and physics, if you passed GCSE and are willing to put the work in then there shouldn't be a problem at all. There are a stable of several good flying schools, with anything above PPL you will probably want to be at one of them. You will be investing upwards of 40k. Not something you really want to risk.

My conclusion - Go to university if you can. Well and truly worth it. Save up between now and uni and you can afford to do your PPL one summer whilst you're there, hour build for fun for the rest of your time there. Come out, get a half decent job and continue. You'll still be in a plane by your mid twenties and you'll have a much better grasp on life than the other route.

Just my tuppence though...:oh:

CEH 22nd Feb 2011 15:46

I support what 4015, I have degree in computer security and in my personal opinion (not that it matters) I would say I have enough years of professional experience in same area of my study (6 years), and now I'll hopefully get my ATPL CPL/IR.... =)

And I wont stop there, once I get a job in any airline, and started my duty, I might do a distance part-time Masters of Science too.

Go for the University option first then think about flying, build your foundation/grounds friend.

Wish you all the best

AJ1990 22nd Feb 2011 16:15

I wouldn't stress over your A-Level subjects much myleshigh. Geology, biology, ICT, and Politics are all solid subjects and I'm sure future employers would prefer you to have good grades in subjects you excel in rather than having poor grades in ones you don't. Are you planning on dropping a subject or sticking to all four the whole way? Four A-Levels would distinguish you to some extent.

As regards to university? It's a completely personal decision I'd say. When I was 16 I decided not to go through the whole UCAS thing - the thought of spending 3-4 years accruing vast amounts of debt and not getting into flying wasn't to my taste. Uni is a great experience and I totally agree with 4015. The only thing I disagree on is the level of maturity in students as against those who haven't gone through the experience. My friends at uni receive big lumps of money every so often covering all of their education and accomodation/maintenance expenses from the government. Those in the real world have to work for such luxuries :}. It's still a fantastic experience though so I'd always tell people to go for it :ok:.

There are other options - I study via distance learning with the Open University whilst working and flying at the same time. Just an idea - mite be worth considering ;)

lander66 22nd Feb 2011 16:16

Just like to say that I finished my A Levels in July and decided not to go to uni. Instead I got a job, albeit a low-level job in order to start my flying training. I am currently training for my PPL. I am not saying I will never go to uni but I know that a degree would not directly help me achieve my goals. I personally believe that having a full-time job gives you vital life experience as well.

My second point is that a very low percentage of uni leavers are getting that "decent job". They are either remaining unemployed or just getting a low-level job such as mine (after months of searching) which doesn't require a degree in the first place. Unemployment figures are through the roof and I am very grateful for the job I have and would much rather be in my position now on my way to gaining a PPL than have no flying experience, a degree which would not be beneficial in my first-choice career and a long wait for a semi-decent job.

I'd like to think airlines would appreciate the fact that I spend the vast majority of my wages on flying as opposed to getting pissed every night. That must show some level of maturity...

As for a back-up career, if I think of another job I can be really enthusiastic about such as being a pilot, then I might risk spending 35,000+ on a degree. I think it is just plain stupid to jump straight into uni as many do, without really knowing what they want to do afterwards.

Plus who's to say that the only way of getting a decent back up career is through uni, there are so many options and nearly all of them are much cheaper than a degree.

AJ1990 22nd Feb 2011 16:25

Totally agree Lander! When I was at Sixth Form it was like Uni was the only option - I could probably count the number of those who went straight into work on my hands (possibly toes aswell but you get the idea ;)). There is a part of me which thinks the increase in tuition fees won't be such a bad thing - there's alot of people going to uni for whom the main reason for going is the experince which seems to be lowering the value of degrees personally.

ei-flyer 22nd Feb 2011 16:41

Listen carefully, because follows some very good advice -

Forget uni, and don't go straight into work.

Go to college as soon as you've finished your AS Levels (so long as you're below the age of 19 it doesn't matter) and learn a trade, preferably something like plumbing, and then extend that to gas/heating or whatever.

Why? Here's why -

Go straight into work - guaranteed 800-1400 ish a month after tax for the next X amount of years. You think it's easy to save off that amount of money (even living at home)... It isn't.

Go to uni - lose three years and put yourself in unnecessary debt. And THEN you'll likely be earning anything from 15-30000 per annum starting salary. Ok, bit better.

Or - learn a trade for five years supported by an apprenticeship. I did it that way, and at age 21 I was taking home 40,000 a year. After tax. The amount of extra 'cold cash' you develop in that line of work is immense. Used to get an extra 100-150 a day JUST for the scrap metal I took back home to the scrapyard. That doesn't include the 140 base pay for the job. That was taxed, though.

By 23 I'd put myself through the rest of flight training and flying for a loco carrier we all know. Paid for the type rating too. No debt, was living at home.

A lot of people will tell you to go to uni as a 'fallback'. A fallback? Helloooo, there's hardly any jobs anywhere, not just in aviation. But when yer loo goes kerplunk, that needs fixing. Tradesmen are always in demand and the money is good. Also, unlike a lot of academially qualified positions, you can jump straight back into it in the future should you require, as opposed to going through a lengthy application process. It's because having a trade is a more worthy skill to most people (customers) than a degree.

I am biased - when I was 14/15 I was all for uni. Was a math-head personally, but realised that could only take me so far.

It can be difficult while still at school, but really take a good hard look at the real world of moneymaking, and it's easy to see.

Good luck :ok:

quick edit - I know a lot of people avoid college because it's where all the 'losers' go. That [email protected] who sits on the backrow at school, dim as ****, will always answer 'college' when asked what they're gonna do. The bright ones always say 'uni'. Be under no illusion, college isn't in some way 'easier', and aforementioned [email protected] will probably never become a plumber, electrician, or whatever. Will piss their EMA up the wall, not bother studying the theory, and get kicked off the course. Food for thought.

lander66 22nd Feb 2011 18:00

AJ1990 - Exactly! That's how it was for me at Sixth Form, they spoke as if they pretty much assumed everyone was going to uni. It gave me some satisfaction knowing that I would be "tainting" their records by going straight to work :8 And yes, degrees certainly seem to be slightly devalued by the fact that everyone does it just for the hell of it.

ei-flyer - Fair enough, learning a trade through college and doing an apprenticeship can probably get you earning more, faster than going to uni. I think you were one of the only ones earning 40,000 by the age of 21 through an apprenticeship but good on ya for doing it! :ok: I think it is possible to get semi-decent earnings by going straight to work as well though, working your way up the ladder. I agree with you that it is hard to save though! Although as long as I earn enough to fly every week I feel I am on target.

MightyDucks 22nd Feb 2011 18:17


I'm not sure where people are going to get an apprenticeship these days. I did an apprenticeship and never made anything like that kind of money and even fully qualified i still don't. I do agree however that getting a job is a good idea however its not going to be for some people. Its hard going straight from the easy life of school into working hard for what will prob be crappy money (To stat of with anyway

ei-flyer 22nd Feb 2011 19:32

lander66, I understand where you're coming from, and to clarify, no way am I attempting to brag about what I was earning, but I was lucky to be 'carried' through the course on the back of a local, family run company that reward their staff very well. I have friends still in the trade, and as an employee, they are earning around 700 per week typically, a lot less than I claim myself, but it's reliable money. Plus, I'm registered gas safe (whatever that means these days) and was a 'heating engineer' as opposed to a plain leaf plumber (took 5 years from starting college), which probably explains the differences in remuneration. And knowing a good scrappy!

MightyDucks, regarding getting an apprenticeship, It's been too long since I did it to give an accurate representation of the situation now, however have heard on Radio 1 that the government are trying to create 100,000 apprenticeships. No idea where, no idea when, no idea what industry, but I happened to catch it on the off chance. Might be worth looking into. Also, good point about the crappy money - I was paid 50 a week by the company I was apprentice to. Worth it in the end though!

I'm only 25, but I know that if I hadn't learnt a trade, and certainly if I'd gone to university, I wouldn't be flying professionally now, but that's more down to the recession and the way the timings would have worked out. It happened for me, and I'm just trying to pass this on to people still in school because I know it works. I genuinely believe it's the most surefire way to earn half decent money after leaving school.

Anyway, don't wanna hijack this thread too much, so I'l shut up now :ok:

p.s. added bonus - I can do me own plumbing, only cost being materials at wholesale price... The wife/girlfriend/partner will be forever grateful!!! :p

MightyDucks 23rd Feb 2011 17:51

I wouldn't be listening too closely to the government. I am glad i have something to fall back on if i do go ahead with the training.

myleshigh 23rd Feb 2011 18:42

Thanks everyone for the advice and comments - I really appreciate it. This has certainly given me some new options to think about other than university which seems to be the only option suggested by my sixth form (and family for that matter).

lander66 23rd Feb 2011 21:40

Get a degree, a well paid job...then pay off your uni debt and start paying for your initial training using your salary
I think this is what everyone assumes will happen when they go to university. They think it assures them a nice well paid job. Do you know how long it takes most people to pay off uni debt (soon to be 35,000+ lest we forget)? A lot longer than a few years. The chances are you will end up with a low-pay job to start with just like everyone who didn't go to university. The ceilings may be higher but you still need to start on the ground floor.

Also as for a low-paid job being unimpressive, its what you do with the money that counts. Someone on a low-paid job who manages to save their money effectively for pilot training may impress interviewers just as much as someone who has got a degree and a slightly higher salary.

lander66 23rd Feb 2011 22:15

Yes the potential earnings of degree holders are much higher I accept that. Its all to do with current conditions though. At the moment unemployment figures are rising and even finding an 18,000 job is going to be tough, let alone 50,000... With more people holding degrees there is more competition hence more jobless. I'd like to know what the figures are for employment of uni leavers last year, not great I'd imagine.

If I was planning on getting a degree I might hold my horses for a year or two and see how things are looking then.

Also I think that everybody should do some "menial" jobs at some point in their lives because more often than not it provides valuable experience of hard, stressful work and a good sense of perspective for when you make it to your dream job.

Anyway enough out of me, I have said my piece (probably a few times too many). Whether you do uni or not good luck to ya! :ok:

AJ1990 23rd Feb 2011 22:59

Also I think that everybody should do some "menial" jobs at some point in their lives because more often than not it provides valuable experience of hard, stressful work and a good sense of perspective for when you make it to your dream job.
I'm self-employed but also have the pleasure of working part-time in housekeeping at a certain chain of purple hotels endorsed by Lenny Henry. When I'm at 2,500ft looking at everybody bumbling along with the monotony of life, I'm very grateful that I'm not down there cleaning up the remains of a dirty weekend. I enjoy working - you get a better sense of the 'real' world and a greater appreciation of aviation and all its' priviliges. When I read about 19 year olds jumping straight in to the airlines I wonder just how much they truely appreciate it? I guess it all comes down to perspective...

Wee Weasley Welshman 24th Feb 2011 05:24

If you need a degree to 'fall back on' in the future then do the degree in the future as a mature student. Degrees are deeply unimpressive these days and for 30k represent poor value. I've got several but I shan't be encouraging my children down that route.


captainsuperstorm 24th Feb 2011 06:03

I know a guy who went for his license, 20 yo. excited to be apilot.
now he has nothing, no job, no money, and lives with dad and mom money who are upset.he lives with his girlfriend money.
i have other friends, the same, try to drive taxi ortesco,..

i got a degree, ahah,can work in many field and make good money.
just listen the poor idiots who tell you degree is useless,and you will finish yourself homeless under a bridge like www.

whatever i say, is useless,most youg brainless guys dream to be a pilot and prefer to finish in the streets just for the flying dream.

ei-flyer 24th Feb 2011 06:48


Only prob with that being, in a few years you might have a family who unfortunately are a lot more attention demanding than studying an open university degree 'on the side' so to speak!

captainsuperstorm, what a stupid response. I know people like that too. They all work though. A lot of complaints I hear about the lack of unskilled jobs - what rubbish, I have friends who scoured jobcentre for one day and were working within a week. I can't understand how people end up living off their parents or the government for so long. Unless of course, that suits them.

giggitygiggity 24th Feb 2011 07:13

The university experience can be a very valuable one. I got no grants or parental handouts. My student loan did not even cover the accommodation costs, to feed myself each semester I worked in a bar during term time, during the holidays I worked full-time at home. A/My degree is irrelevant and not relevant to the job; but the life experience isn't. My CV demonstrates that I am not workshy. Living on your own, managing your finances are all experience/skills that will have to be drawn upon during training so naturally it can be a benefit.

Of course, this experience can be gained in full-time work/apprenticeships etc. but it is worth trying to do it on you own so you have something to talk about at the eventual interviews. If you can show you have worked hard in the past pursuing your goals, a prospective employer or training organisation should hopefully be convinced you are worth taking a chance on as you have shown you are determined to succeed.

It is really up to you as to which path you go down, work hard for your A-Levels and perhaps give it a year before you sign up with a university as it is 30,000 you could seriously do without out owing!

captainsuperstorm, what a stupid response.
I don't think Mr Superstorm has written an intelligent response during his time here. Is there a way I can ignore his comments?

whatever i say, is useless
I take it back, this is the first sensible thing he has said.

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:32.

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.