Explore: Manufacturing

Engineering Apprentice
MBDA Missile Defence Systems

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Jane Aspinall

My name is Jane Aspinall and my job is Im an apprentice working here at MBDA. Just basic engineering, Im doing my college first year HNC which is one day a week and I also work here 4 days a week here in the company on different placements.

When I was 16 I decided that I wanted to go into law so I started looking more into it and I actually picked it as one of my A-Levels, but I dropped it after the first year because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought  I would. Electronics is more fun, it was my favourite lesson, it was the only lesson that Id actually look forward to, aprt from PE. Then I realised once I knew actually I really enjoy this, Im going to look into maybe university and look into doing engineering. My brother went to university he’s two years older than me, he did his first year doing exactly the same thing in electronical engineering but he actually dropped out of his university degree because he hated it. He was in 37 hours each week and didn’t really enjoy being there so then he got an apprenticeship with a different company. So Id been told about this apprenticeship when I was younger by my teacher who use to work here. It was a really different interview than what Id previously had, ive only ever worked part time at a supermarket so my interview for that wasn’t as intense as my interview for this. My typical thought when I thought of engineering was, as everyone else does, is that Id be getting under a machine or something and getting a bit dirty but it just isn’t. Its four years the apprenticeship and my first two years I will move around placements working in design, working in assembly, just kind of different placements in engineering.  In your last two years you work around specific placements mainly engineering. So you could go into test engineering, design engineering all engineering specific wheras in the first two years you just get a feel about what actually goes on within the company.


I think its brilliant that I get paid whilst Im learning and I’ll still get all the qualifications i would have if Id gone to university and get more and maybe even get to go on to my degree depending on how I do with my other qualifications.


Youve got all different sections working on different parts, there isn’t just one person that builds it from scratch. We’ve got a skills range across our company with the workers that are here. Some skills in assembly, soldering, working machines kind of thing, testing, inspection like we’ve got xray machines.


I play rugby so I play train three times a week as well as at weekends. I played for the lads team until I was 12 and now I play for the amateur club as well as England students womens team as well. My work comes before my rugby, Ive just missed a game this weekend to get up to date with all my college work and Ive got world skills coming up so Ive missed a lot of games through doing world skills with this company. Obviously my dad didn’t want me to have an apprenticeship but now he cant sing my praises enough I don’t think. My dads always been proud of me playing rugby, my mums doesn’t like me playing rugby, she’d rather I be a ballerina. My dads a PSA at the tears centre so he’s in the Territorial Army as well and he did his service of 25 years in the army as well. My dad always wanted me to go in the army as well. He had my in cadets when I was 12 and I hated cadets so I think he gathered from that that I never wanted to go into the army. I think I was a bit of a tom boy when I was younger, my brother was never into any sports so my dad used me as his little sporting girl that he could take to the rugby at the weekends.


I’d never go back and do anything differently that Ive not done. Ive got the car Ive got the money I can go out and do whatever I want, whenever I want. Im getting the qualifications at the same time

Jade always liked science and engineering but after her watching her brother have a negative experience of university, she was not sure whether she wanted to study engineering at university. She decided to apply for an apprenticeship after completing her A-levels and now feels that she made the right choice. She enjoys rugby and plays for the England student team.

More information about Engineering technicians

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

87%  male 
13%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Engineering technicians perform a variety of technical support functions to assist engineers with the design, development, operation, installation and maintenance of engineering systems and constructions.
Entrants to training usually posses GCSEs/S grades. Vocational training consists either of full-time study for a BTEC/SQA award followed by two years on-the-job training, or an apprenticeship leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 or 4. An NVQ/SVQ in Aircraft Engineering Maintenance at Level 3 plus further professional qualifications are required to become a licensed aircraft engineer.
  • Plans and prepares work and test schedules based on specifications and drawings;
  • Sets up equipment, undertakes tests, takes readings, performs calculations and records and interprets data;
  • Prepares estimates of materials, equipment and labour required for engineering projects;
  • Diagnoses and detects faults and implements procedures to maintain efficient operation of systems and equipment;
  • Inspects completed aircraft maintenance work to certify that it meets standards and the aircraft is ready for operation;
  • Visits and advises clients on the use and servicing of mechanical and chemical engineering products and services.
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Employment status

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