British Airways apprentices handle international flight

A group of British Airways engineering apprentices.
Photo Credit: British Airways

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, British Airways conducted the successful dispatch of a flight to South Africa, led entirely by a team of skilled apprentices.

Around 40 British Airways apprentices planned and delivered the successful departure of the BA43 service from London Heathrow to Cape Town for more than 300 customers.

This accomplishment marked a first for the airline with roles carried out by the qualified apprentices including check-in, boarding, dispatch, cabin crew, baggage handling and engineering.

National Apprenticeship Week 2024

During National Apprenticeship Week 2024, approximately 40 apprentices demonstrated their capabilities across various critical roles to ensure the smooth departure of the Boeing 777 BA43 flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town, South Africa.

From check-in counters to boarding gates, these apprentices provided invaluable support to over 300 passengers, contributing to the international flight service.


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Ground operations apprentices played a crucial role in tasks such as baggage handling and aircraft preparation, ensuring the flight’s readiness for departure.

Photo Credits: British Airways

Insights from Apprentices

Jawad Arbi, a Heathrow Operations Apprentice at British Airways, shared his enriching experience, describing the collaborative effort among the apprentices.

“Working in collaboration with other apprentices from across the operation to ensure a safe departure has been a fantastic experience. Starting an apprenticeship with British Airways has transformed my career, and I’m excited to continue to develop my skills and see where it takes me.”

The exercise neatly emphasised the significant role of apprenticeships in nurturing talent and fostering professional growth within the aviation industry.

British Airways’ Apprentice Scheme

British Airways’ apprentice scheme, now in its 13th year, has witnessed a remarkable surge in interest, with a 75% increase in applicants compared to 2022.

This surge reflects the growing recognition of British Airways as an industry leader committed to nurturing emerging talent.

From offering 30 apprenticeship positions in 2011 to 290 positions today, the airline has significantly expanded its program, providing diverse opportunities across ten area-focused roles within Customer, Business, and Operations domains.

Opportunities for Growth

Apprentices joining British Airways embark on a journey enriched with hands-on experience, mentorship, and real-world projects.

By collaborating with seasoned professionals, apprentices gain invaluable insights into the aviation industry while contributing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.

This symbiotic relationship not only benefits individual career development but also contributes to the airline’s continuous growth and innovation.

British Airways Comments

Rachel Iley, Director of Global Learning Academy at British Airways, acknowledges the pivotal role apprentices play in driving organizational excellence and innovation.

“This landmark flight demonstrates the integral role apprentices play in our workforce and the opportunities available to those who join British Airways on one of our schemes,” said Iley.

“Our talented apprentices bring a fresh perspective to our airline, and their ideas and enthusiasm will help propel us into the future.”

The airline’s commitment to fostering emerging talent underscores its dedication to shaping the future of aviation professionals.

Through initiatives like career fairs and outreach events, British Airways aims to inspire the next generation of aviation enthusiasts and cultivate a diverse talent pool poised for success in the industry.

Opportunities Ahead

The national carrier is now preparing to open applications for the next cohort of apprenticeships in October 2024.

An endorsement from Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships, and Higher Education, Robert Halfon, further reinforced the significance of apprenticeships in bridging skills gaps and driving economic growth.

 “So, it is brilliant news that British Airways continues to embrace apprenticeships offering 178 positions this year, and receiving a record number of applications,” said Minister Halfon.

“British Airways understand the levy and use it well. They have experienced the wealth of benefits apprentices bring to their business, and I hope more businesses follow their lead and experience this for themselves.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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