Mechanical Engineer - Red Arrows
RAF

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Hi. I’m Nat.

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I’m a mechanical engineer on the Royal Air Force aerobatics team, the Red Arrows.

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My day to day job involves looking after the fleet of aircraft

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and 37 personnel

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to make sure the rectification is suitable for the flying programme.

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In school, I studied my GCSEs

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which included maths, English and science.

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I then went on to perform A-levels,

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which were in art, graphics, general studies, and business studies.

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From there, I didn’t really kind of know what I wanted to do,

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I looked at the police.

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They said you need to get life experience.

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So I went and started a job at Lincolnshire County Council,

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working in the offices, delivering post.

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From there, my next step was to join the Royal Air Force.

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So in 2002, that’s when I joined as a mechanical engineer.

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From there, I worked on the Nimrod aircraft.

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Then on to

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Tornado, Typhoon, and now on the Hawks.

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Throughout my career, I’ve always wanted to work on the Red Arrows.

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So from gaining experience on all the multiple aircraft I’ve worked on,

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I finally got given the chance three years ago.

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When I started here it was quite difficult.

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It’s a team that you need to get integrated into.

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It took a while for me, but finally, three years later,

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being given the privileged position of circus lead,

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which entails looking after nine engineers and a photographer

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throughout the season,

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transponders in the back of the aircraft and making sure servicings are carried out

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and the aircraft are safe to perform each display.

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In my job, it’s useful to have skills to possess, such as communication,

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good leadership, being able to listen, guide people when they’re struggling

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help with education

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anything to get people to the end result.

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Our end result is getting the aircraft in the air.

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If I could give advice to my younger self or anyone

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that wanted to join the engineering trade, I’d just say go for it.

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Anyone can do it with the right training and the right attitude.

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You’ll get a great end result and you could end up in a job like this.

 

“I’d just say go for it.” After her A-levels in design subjects, Nat worked for the council delivering post. She then joined the RAF as a trainee, going on to gain an NVQ level 3 Diploma in aeronautical engineering.

She now ensures the Red Arrows team and its aircraft are safe to fly.

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More information about Mechanical engineers

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£47,840
average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

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38
average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

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7%  female 
93%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future Employment

Future employment?

Description
? Mechanical engineers undertake research and design, direct the manufacture and manage the operation and maintenance of engines, machines, aircraft, vehicle and ships’ structures, building services and other mechanical items.
Qualifications
Mechanical engineers usually possess an accredited university degree. After qualifying, periods of appropriate training and experience are required before membership of a chartered engineering institution is attainable. Incorporated engineers possess an accredited university degree, BTEC/SQA award or an apprenticeship leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 4, followed by periods of training and relevant experience.
Tasks
  • Undertakes research and advises on energy use, materials handling, thermodynamic processes, fluid mechanics, vehicles and environmental controls;
  • Determines materials, equipment, piping, capacities, layout of plant or system and specification for manufacture;
  • Designs mechanical equipment, such as steam, internal combustion and other non-electrical motors for railway locomotives, road vehicles, aeroplanes and other machinery;
  • Ensures that equipment, operation and maintenance comply with design specifications and safety standards;
  • Organises and establishes control systems to monitor operational efficiency and performance of materials and systems.
Employment by region
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Top 10 industries for this job
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Other trans. equipment 10338
Architectural & related 9925
Head offices, etc 6487
Repair & installation 6141
Construction 6032
Specialised construction 5184
Motor vehicles, etc 4518
Machinery, etc 4011
Metal products 3530
Rental & leasing 3095
Employment status
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Skill importance
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