Can you tell us about your journey to date and how you ended up working as an Aircraft Technician Apprentice at Dublin Aerospace?
My career at Dublin Aerospace started in 2016 but my journey to working in the industry started in 2013 when I moved to Ireland to begin studying Engineering at UCD. After 2 years of studiying, I realised university wasn’t for me and my father suggested an apprenticeship in aviation.
Having been recommended to work at Dublin Aerospace, I applied and was successful in the application process. I had worked in aviation before in an organisation just outside Cardiff stripping end-of-life aircraft down for parts, so I knew that I enjoyed the hands-on work.
During my 4 year apprenticeship, I learned the basic skills required to maintain aircraft, from the paperwork requirements to the hand skills. Upon the completion of my apprenticeship, I was hired by Dublin Aerospace as an Aircraft Technician.
The following two years I spent my time developing my skills within Dublin Aerospace, learning what I could from the wealth of experience of the technicians and engineers I was lucky enough to be working with. Whilst learning the more complex skills required of a technician over these two years also supported me to get aircraft type licences on Airbus A320CEO/NEO and Boeing 737NG/MAX.
Following my successful application to the IAA for my Category A Licence, followed by my Category B1 Licence and then my type certifications, I was able to sit on an approval board within the company to become a B1 Licenced Engineer. Upon my successful completion of the approval process, I became a Zonal Leader within the company and this is the position I currently hold for the last 8 months.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
In the morning I would check in with my team to make a plan for the day. This changes depending on the stage of the aircraft check whether we’re in the process of gaining access for inspections, rectifying any problems found during inspections or rebuilding areas in time for the aircraft to leave.
Once the team understands the plan for the day I would make sure everyone has the parts and manuals required to do the job and understand anything that requires special attention.
After everything is underway I start inspecting the work that had been completed the previous day and look over any part of my zone that may need inspections. These inspections are called up through planned maintenance and the areas that require these types of inspections will change between aircraft -- depending on the age and number of cycles the aircraft has been through. This keeps the job very dynamic, no day is the same.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
I’d say the most interesting part of my job is the team management aspect. It is my responsibility to make all the critical decisions required to maintain the aircraft within the regulations and make sure we solve any problems with the aircraft in a timely manner.
Understanding the people that you are working with, their strengths and skills and utilising those to the best of their ability in order to achieve the objectives of the team is a complex thing to do that requires constant learning and adaptation.
I really enjoy this challenge, it can be stressful at times but very rewarding when a well-made plan comes to fruition.
What skills are required to do your job?
I have gained all the skills I use in my current role during my time in Dublin Aerospace - whether it is hand skills, organisational skills or interpersonal skills, the list goes on.
These three main skills are the most important for my current role. Being organised is critically important as at the start of a heavy maintenance check you could have upwards of 200 task cards, generated through maintenance planning, to be completed before the end of the check and this will grow throughout the heavy maintenance check as you go through your inspections/functional checks. You must stay organised to keep on top of this amount of work and make sure it's completed within the regulations to a high standard.
Hand skills are important as you are the key point of contact that is relied upon by your team to solve complex problems that they may come across while completing planned maintenance.
Finally interpersonal skills because you will have to work with many different people from not only your team but also other departments within the company to make sure the maintenance on the aircraft is completed to the highest level and on time.
What is your favourite thing about working at Dublin Aerospace?
This is an easy question to answer (finally!) The people are the best thing about working at Dublin Aerospace. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the smartest, most hard-working and most intelligent people I’ve ever met. In a hangar environment, the people make your experience.
I feel incredibly supported by the people I work with and always feel I have someone to go to and ask for advice if I need it, with no judgement. There is also a real sense of comradeship in the hangar, a colleague once said to me the day he left Dublin Aerospace “I’m going to miss this place, there are very few places you can go to work in a bad mood and have a smile on your face within the first hour” and I think that sums up the people of Dublin aerospace.
How would your teammates best describe you?
I think my teammates would describe me as hardworking, diligent, driven and flexible.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? What advice would you give to someone starting their career?
The best piece of advice I ever received was from a family friend that worked in aviation, he said “Once you know the goal you wish to achieve, the initial direction you take is important, but after that, you have to be flexible to take the opportunities that present themselves”