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'Airbus Explored - Part Five'

The Airbus site in Filton, Bristol

We've been given special, behind the scenes access to one of the South West's biggest employers. All week, we've been giving you an insight into various departments from across the Airbus site in Filton. For the fifth and final part of our series, we're hearing from the future of the company - their apprentices and graduates.

Back in September this year, Airbus welcomed its largest cohort of apprentices in decades. 

Around 176 budding engineer and support-function apprentices began their journey with the company - who are the largest commercial aerospace company in the UK - across their sites in Filton and Broughton. 

In Filton, 28 of the new apprentices were engineering-related; four were ‘craft’ or manufacturing (A400M factory), and four more were ‘digital’ apprenticeships working in software engineering and cyber security. They also recruited a further 41 new graduate trainees. 

Once they're accepted onto the apprenticeship scheme, the apprentices are then stationed throughout departments at the Filton site. 

''We like to satisfy their requirements, as well as our business requirements. We have a conversation right at the start of their training and ask them where they'd like to go, where their interests are and what they think they're good at. Generally, we find that if you're good at something, then you enjoy it, and if you enjoy it you then give and gain a lot from it, so we always try and factor this in'' said Yan Neehaul, an Early Careers Development Manager at the site. 

''Then we look at the business and see where they'd like us to place people. For example, if there's one particular area where we're heavily recruiting, we try to fill those gaps with early careers because it gives them a lot of exposure and experience at a busy time - it's a win-win really for both parties''.

Press play on the clip below to hear Yan talk about some of the other things they factor in when deciding where to place apprentices

Callum Moore is a second year Engineering Graduate with the Landing Gear team. 

His graduate scheme is divided into a series of placements across two years, with his first placement lasting for six months and then all of the following ones coming in the form of 3 month placements. 

''My current role is in the Landing Gear in-service engineering team. Airlines will send their in-service engineering queries to our customer support team, who then pass on the problems to us if it requires. Our design team are then on hand to offer their expertise to answer those queries and provide solutions'' he said. 

''In my role, the actions you do every single day help impact the customer. At the minute, there's around 15,000 Airbus aircraft in the world right now. One will take off or land every 1.4 seconds, so there's a lot we need to do to support them. Every day we deal with different tasks and we're jumping into different areas. We learn a lot ourselves every day, and it's really nice to be involved and help the company in this way'' said Callum. 

Click play below to hear Callum talk more about what it's like being involved in the graduate scheme at Airbus.

''Day to day, I get to work on the compliance for modifications on landing gear for the A350 and A380 aircrafts. I'm also currently working on some exciting big brake builds for the A380 which is really interesting. They're in the final modification process now'' said Lavina Phelan, an Undergraduate Engineering Apprentice who's currently on a placement with the A350 and A380 landing gear major mods team. 

''This is my first placement and I started with very little knowledge of landing gear. One of the most interesting things about my placement has been finding out how they do the testing, and what type of tests they do to landing gear to make sure that it's safe to have thousands of people landing and taking off on it.''

''One of the favourite tests I've discovered that they do is called the MERTA (Maximum Energy Rejected Take Off). For that, they get an aircraft, put it on the end of the runway and they go to take off velocity - usually a bit over take off velocity - and then they slam the brakes on. It causes the brakes to smoke and by the end of it the brakes and tyres are completely destroyed, but it shows you just how much energy that such a small part of an aircraft can absorb'' said Lavina. 

 ''The learning whilst having access to the amount of knowledge that's available here from people is just brilliant. I'm able to ask questions and do placements all over the company, find out about things that I'm more interested in and the opportunities that gives you is just amazing''. 

Hit play below to hear Lavina talk about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship with Airbus

''Lots of people are scared of flying, but in 2017 there we no fatalities in commercial air travel at all - compare that to car travel. It's amazing how safe the aircraft industry actually is'' said Lavina. 

''Having actually worked in the compliance side of things, you get to understand how they actually create that level of safety - and it's actually quite phenomenal. I'd have never learnt these things if I didn't decide to pursue an apprenticeship at Airbus Filton, and it equips me so well for my future career''. 

We hope you've enjoyed our exclusive 'Airbus Explored' series - don't forget you can go back and check out the other four parts on our website.

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