Aircraft manufacturers in the UK are targeting a new production record this year, with the aim of delivering more than 1700 wide-bodied and single-aisle aircraft.

This would make 2018 the eighth consecutive annual record for aircraft deliveries.

Plans to accelerate delivery rates of aircraft such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 series and Bombardier C Series are driving this new demand.

There is also the challenge of providing cleaner, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

January saw 71 aircraft delivered and 48 ordered, meaning the order books currently stand at 14,267.

The government predicts the space industry could be worth £40 billion a year to the UK economy by 2030. These new figures highlight the growing success of the UK’s highest-flying engineering and manufacturing sector.

And the UK is not only creating space flight systems, it could soon be launching them too.

An operational spaceport is a vital part of maximising opportunities in the aerospace sector and the House of Lords is currently considering amendments to the Space Industry Bill.

The aim is to put in place the legislative framework for licensed spaceports and commercial space activity in the UK.

The possibility of a spaceport, combined with the latest delivery figures, underlines the need for more job applicants to become involved in different sectors that will allow aerospace manufacturing to continue growing.

Among the roles directly or indirectly related – and available online for the engineers and production operators of today and tomorrow – these are just some of the most sought after.

Aerospace Engineer

Starting literally from the top, aerospace engineering can offer you a high-flying career. To excel at this altitude, you must have problem-solving talents that can react to any situation and the ability to be creative on autopilot. Expect a starting salary between £22,000 to £28,000 but, with promotion, the sky’s your limit.

Civil Engineer

Even if you’re starting out, you’ll need to show the ability to take your own lead through projects as well as be a team player. The starting salary for a contracting civil engineer is around £23,500 a year – if you become a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, however, you can command around £80,000 a year.

Mechanical Engineer

In this sector you’ll need to have creativity, organisational and people skills to work both with your on-site team and off-site clients. Being able to develop products used across a whole host of industries, from construction to information technology, means your skills can be transferred to different industries.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers must have mathematical skills and obviously a good grasp of chemistry. Safety plays a huge part in this role, so you’ll need to show you can work to a high standard with incredible attention to detail.

Electrical Engineer

When you consider the complexity of wiring and cables that go into aerospace hardware, it’s no surprise electrical engineers must, above all, be able to multitask. And with fast-moving tech you’re going to have to keep up to date.

Manufacturing & Production

Moving from the design stage, components for complex machines such as satellites must be manufactured and production operators are vital in this process. On-the-job training and further learning are often built into the job description.


Engineering is a diverse industry and the apprenticeships on offer reflect this. As an apprentice you’ll receive on-the-job training while studying towards industry-recognised qualifications – all with the bonus of earning a full-time wage.

Graduate opportunities

There are many opportunities to become a graduate engineer. The BEng (Hons) Aircraft Engineering course, for example, provides the knowledge and skills needed to analyse complex aircraft engineering situations and solve aeronautical engineering problems.

Aerospace engineering demands the most versatile skill sets in the sector. Find out more about a huge range of engineering roles now.

Part 2

The aerospace industry covers many different areas, including maintenance and repair, manufacture and design, avionics and the research and development of hi-tech electronic aircraft equipment.

  • Aircraft deliveries in 2017 were worth up to £29 billion to UK industry

  • Across the UK around 150 aerospace companies employ 30,000 people

  • The UK as a whole has about 13% of the aerospace manufacturing market

  • Aerospace is the second largest contributor to the UK economy after pharmaceuticals

  • Commercial aircraft orders are at a record 14,267 and set to be worth up to £212 billion across the U