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West of England Aerospace Forum

WEAF represents the aerospace and defence industry in the South West of England, UK. As part of their committment to strive to grow the sector and act as an enabler of excellence regionally, nationally and on the global stage, WEAF have partnered with Gradsouthwest to help graduates secure work in the South West of England; and to help their members find great graduate talent.

Click here to find current jobs being advertised in advanced engineering.

Why choose a career in aerospace?

As the number one aerospace industry in Europe, the UK appeals to global aerospace manufacturers because of its world class capabilities.

This high-technology, high-skill industry features a broad range of high-value disciplines, including engineering, science, project management, production, service, training and finance. As such, it remains at the forefront of new research and development (R&D). The UK aerospace sector directly employs almost 110,000 people across the country and many more in the supply chain, with an advanced manufacturing base providing work for around 3,000 companies of all sizes.

In particular, south west England has a strong presence of global players and generates a breadth of specialist technical knowledge for the aerospace sector. The region has a proven ability to produce spin-out companies with linkages and diversification into related sectors and has the largest amount of investment in aerospace for R&D in the UK. As a result, leading academic institutions produce high calibre graduates, and the region benefits from expertise in robotics, autonomous systems, composites, ceramics, avionics and other higher value added technologies.

The future looks positive, with continuous investment planned across the supply chain. Engineering is significant to both the UK’s economy and employment rate, as every new engineering role leads to an additional two jobs being created. The challenge facing the aviation sector is how to find the talented engineers it needs to drive ongoing growth, particularly as companies need to recruit and retain staff for the long term.

In addition, modern aircraft are becoming increasingly complex, placing greater emphasis on the need for very specific engineering skill-sets; this is largely due to the industry’s growing focus on its environmental impact – composites make aircraft more fuel-efficient.

Job roles to consider within the aerospace industry include:

  • Electrical engineers, specifically an electrical machine design engineer and power electronics engineer
  • Production and process engineers, specifically manufacturing engineer (process planning) and manufacturing engineer (purchasing)
  • Engineering professionals, such as chief of engineering stress engineer, aerothermal engineer, advance tool and fixtures engineer
  • Buyers and procurement officers, specifically manufacturing engineer (purchasing)
  • Aircraft maintenance and related trades, specifically licensed and military certifying engineer/inspector technician
  • Machinists
  • CNC programmers
  • Composites engineer