Aer Lingus Mentored Cadet Pilot Programme 2017

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Aer Lingus Careers


Cadet Bios

Read a little more from some of our existing cadets...

Aoife Duff - Aer Lingus Cadet

"It was third time lucky for me last year, when I was successful in getting a place on the Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot programme. It was the culmination of many things for me, I had just got my degree, I was old enough and experienced enough to show I was worthy of a place, and I had taken five lessons in a Cessna 152 to be sure that this was definitely the career for me.

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Each application process helped me to grow, the last one in particular felt challenging and rewarding; you meet people with a passion for aviation and get to show your strengths in a way no other interview process does. Aer Lingus help you every step along the way, I really felt like they were rooting for me, that the process was less of a competition and more of an induction into the aviation world. There were no traps in the interviews, there was a mutual respect and I felt at home from day one. Each member of staff I have met so far has been extremely welcoming. That feeling, receiving the phone call from a captain to tell me I was going to FTE is simply indescribable.

I come from a primarily science based background. For my leaving cert I took maths, physics and chemistry. Following this I studied Science Education in DCU, and my studies in maths, chemistry, and physics have really stood to me in both my application and here in FTE. Having a background in maths and science, particularly the problem solving and analytical side of things, has meant I have taken well to subjects such as general navigation, principles of flight and meteorology. I also have much experience in retail and education, which had been invaluable in teaching me to work as a team, take criticism and resolve conflict in a constructive way. This is something which I believe helped me throughout the recruitment process.

I started here in FTE Jerez in January 2016. We were thrown in the deep end, arriving on Sunday afternoon and starting groundschool on Monday morning. Nonetheless, this experience has been incredible. The subjects are genuinely interesting, the instructors have a passion which is infectious, and I have made friends for life from all over the world. A standard day is long. The routine begins at 0800 for breakfast, and classes start at 0900. We have six, hour long classes a day with an hour for lunch. I generally took an hour after class to go running, to the gym or skype family before I had dinner at 1800. Then it was time to study what we covered in class and revision for the ever approaching exams. The exams are difficult, both from an endurance and standards point of view, but we all got through them. You find yourself becoming a very tight knit group here, we all helped each other with problems and the support, both back home and here, has been invaluable.

The flying here in Jerez is just brilliant. Even when your alarm goes at 0530 to be airside for 0630, you still get that little thrill knowing you're going flying. I get a sense of pride in seeing my skills and confidence build, the first take off, first landing and especially the first solo flight are really exciting, and that excitement is not fading! I smile a little hearing all of my class over the radio! It's so exciting knowing that this time next year I will have gone from single engine Piper Warrior to the Airbus A320, and yet it seems a little more real with every flight. FTE is fulfilling every expectation I had, and more!

Would I recommend the Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot programme? Absolutely! It has changed my life. There are very few days I get up and don't love what I'm doing. The airline has made us feel welcome and are supporting us every step along the way. My fellow cadets are as good as family to me. The thought of my future office view still gives me butterflies, and the flying I have done so far has been so rewarding. The scheme has taught me a lot about myself. What would I say to someone applying now? You can never prepare enough! Basic knowledge on flying, background on the company, and especially a knowledge of yourself is essential! Take that first flying lesson and more if possible. Show yourself and the interviewers that you actually enjoy it, that you have felt what it is like to be in control of an aircraft, and show an understanding of what is happening in flight. Go into the process feeling you have done all you can to prepare. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and to the future cadets, persevere, this is everything as good as it seems and more!"

Sofiane Echaib - Aer Lingus Cadet

"My name is Sofiane and I am from Dublin. I applied for the 2016 Cadetship last year. The Cadetship was always a dream opportunity for me. The awe and excitement I felt rush through my body when I found I was successful is still felt nearly halfway through the training. For those of you who have always dreamed of taking to the skies, there is simply no experience like this. Make no mistake, the training is very challenging and tough, particularly the first phase of ground school.

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There will be countless hours and many seven day weeks put into your studies. The training will constantly push you but the rewards are definitely worth it. There is no feeling quite like knowing you're building yourself and reaching your dreams each and every day.

The application process is thorough so be sure to know yourself inside out. Be able to express your life/work experiences and what you can bring to the company and your potential future role. If you're completely convinced this is the career you'd love to have then definitely apply for the Cadetship. If you are not sure but are inspired by flying I'd recommend you take a 30 minute introduction flight. It will give you further insight to know if this really is for you and will only serve to help you in the application. No matter what way you're application goes, learn what you can from the experience and always keep your head up to the skies!"

Laura Russell - Aer Lingus Cadet

"I'm from Cork and started flying when I was 19, during my first year in UCC studying physics. That was 10 years ago and now, it is so wonderful to wake up every day just to go flying. This is exactly why I applied - I wanted to wake up every day and look forward to my job.

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The application and recruitment process took approximately four months for me. It was very exciting as I got invited to each next stage of the process. Even though the interviewing and aptitude testing were hard work, I found that when I was sitting in front of the panel it was more like a chat with friends about the job, the training itself and an opportunity for me to talk about how obsessed with flying I am.

In terms of preparation, I was able to draw on my experiences as a PhD student and as a private pilot to demonstrate how suitable I was for the cadetship. I got the phone call I was wishing for in early January and within four weeks I was in Spain settling in to the flight school.

The experience so far has exceeded all my hopes and expectations. Personally, I feel that I have won the lottery. The icing on the cake is that I am sharing the experience with eleven other cadets.

My background in science has made the ground-school side of the course less challenging. It did not feel too much of a struggle to bury my head in the books for the first four months although during exam time it is frustrating to hear the training aircraft come and go while sitting in a classroom.

Even though I have logged a sizeable portion of hours and acquired a Flight Instructor rating prior to the integrated course, I am relishing every minute in the air. You can never learn enough in aviation, so the opportunity to review the fundamentals is invaluable for me.

If you want to become a pilot, I don't think you should let anything get in your way. It is an endlessly fulfilling career and one in which you very much get out what you put in."

Patrick Henry - Aer Lingus Cadet

"Since my first trip on an aeroplane as a child I was fascinated by flying and had dreamt of being a pilot. The best part of any holiday was going to the airport (even on the way home!) and getting on a plane. However I come from a family full of healthcare professionals and as I grew up my career pathway was influenced by that and with no family or friends involved with aviation, becoming a pilot seemed to be just a dream. I qualified as a dentist in 2010 but always thought I'd really rather be flying aeroplanes instead. Shortly afterwards in 2011, Aer Lingus announced their first new cadetship for many years. I suddenly felt very excited about the prospect of getting one of these golden tickets and getting the chance to make a career change. I applied but unfortunately I wasn't successful. This didn't deter me and I applied again three more times, each time working harder to better my application and finally in 2015 I secured a place.

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Our course here in FTE Jerez began in January 2016. We were welcomed to the campus by the previous year's cadets who were just about to finish their training and head back to Dublin. Classes began immediately and for 20 weeks we studied 8 subjects which were very interesting but the workload was challenging and expectations are very high. Thankfully the hard work paid off and we all passed our EASA Phase 1 exams. There is of course some time for relaxation too and there are plenty of things to do in and around Jerez - I bought a road bike and have enjoyed taking that out to de-stress. The fantastic weather also works wonders for this! We had a much awaited week at home after our exams and have just returned to start full-time flying which is the best way to spend a day at work - a whole lot better than doing fillings! The Piper Warrior is a great little aircraft and we'll spend about 3 months flying them before we return to ground school again for the rest of the exams. There's a great mix of cadets here in FTE from a variety of airlines. The standards of training are very high and we are looking forward to getting home next year to begin our careers with Aer Lingus."

Orla O' Dea - Aer Lingus Cadet

"I am 25 years old and from County Tipperary. I have a bachelor of Agricultural Science specialising in Animal and Crop Production from University College Dublin. Flying has always been my passion and I did some flight training in New Zealand and Scotland. I was just completing my private pilot license when I got the Aer Lingus Cadetship.

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There is no history of flying in my family but I always wanted to be a pilot. In school I studied the more technical subjects like honours maths, physics and chemistry as I always planned on becoming a pilot. Flying is my passion so the Cadetship was the perfect opportunity to make a career out of what I love. I had undertaken some flight training privately in both small aircraft and helicopters so I knew it was something I wanted to make a career out of. I was working in the agricultural sector and saving for my commercial pilot license when I got the cadetship. Aer Lingus is an amazing company who I always aspired to work for. The best part is that you get to work for Aer Lingus on completion of the training, flying the Airbus A320. There are excellent opportunities within Aer Lingus and great career progression which attracted me to the cadetship, for example long haul on their continually, expanding fleet, instructor roles and technical pilot roles to name but a few.

I can still distinctly remember getting the phone call to tell me I was successful while I was in work. It was one of the best moments of my life and a completely life changing call.

It is amazing to finally be doing what I love each day and to be surrounded by like-minded people. There's a great mix of people and cadet pilots from all over the world. You make some great friends and help each other through the training. The programme consists of a mix of classroom based instruction and flying. The training is intense spanning fourteen months. We have just completed five months of ground school and passed six of the EASA exams. We are now completing the flying phase which is enjoyable and a nice change from ground school.

Having worked for two years prior to receiving the cadetship, I found the ground school quite challenging but I adapted after a few weeks. My motivation and determination to be a pilot were key in keeping me focused on studying every day and on the end goal. As a class we all helped each other through the ground school. The flying comes more naturally and I am really enjoying it as it is what I love.

I still can't believe that I have the cadetship. It's a dream come true and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I am thoroughly enjoying the flight training and it is amazing to think that this time next year we will be flying an A320 (hopefully).

If flying is your passion and you are looking for a long term career with plenty of opportunities to progress, I would highly recommend the cadetship.

Don't give up. If you want it, keep working towards it and visualising it until you get there. Maybe get two or three hours flying if possible and get somebody to look through your application prior to submitting it. Do as much preparation and research as possible prior to each stage of the cadetship assessment.

I am really looking forward to arriving back to Dublin and flying the A320, working as part of a team and the opportunities to progress within the company."

Andrew Power - Aer Lingus Cadet

"I am 25 years old and from Raheny in Dublin. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Dublin City University in 2014. Prior to commencing my training with Aer Lingus, I worked as a Yield and Revenue Analyst for a regional airline based in Dublin.

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The application and recruitment process for the Cadet Pilot Training Programme is tough but very fair. For anyone applying this year, I would recommend that you bear in mind that the assessments and interviews are an opportunity for you to demonstrate to Aer Lingus your passion for the job, your knowledge and why you would make the ideal candidate to become a First Officer and eventually a Captain for the airline. In terms of preparation, I would advise brushing up on some maths and physics for the assessments and for the interview, the most important thing is to be yourself!

It has been a life-long dream of mine to work as a commercial pilot for an airline, even more so for Aer Lingus, so there was no hesitation when the application process was open. In addition to flying as a commercial pilot, Aer Lingus offers its employees numerous opportunities to develop a life-long career.

I am currently in my sixth month of training here at Flight Training Europe in Jerez de la Frontera. I have completed my first phase of ground school subjects and have started the first phase of flying recently. The training is intense, particularly the ground school phases, however with the end goal in sight, motivation is never difficult to find. I have recently completed my first solo flight on the Piper Warrior and it was a fantastic experience, it is the one flight that I am certain will stick with me for the rest of my career. Furthermore, the comradery amongst the cadets here in Jerez is fantastic and there's great support for us from Aer Lingus while we are training. Overall, the journey has been extremely enjoyable!

Stepping back into the classroom after working for a while was unusual at first, but you quickly find your feet and get into a good routine. There's great support from Aer Lingus and peers to ensure you succeed and get the most out of your training.

I would recommend the Cadetship without hesitation to anybody who has a passion and strong interest in building a career as a commercial pilot. The training provided and the support from Aer Lingus is fantastic. Furthermore, on successful completion of the training, you are given the opportunity to fly the Airbus A320 for Aer Lingus initially as a First Officer and eventually a Captain along with numerous other opportunities to develop a career with the airline.

My advice to anybody applying for the cadetship this year would be to give it your all, be as prepared as you can for all stages and most importantly, be yourself! Use the recruitment process as an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths, knowledge and passion for the job. For candidates who may not be successful with their application, do not give up! I was successful on my third application and I would advise anybody who may find themselves in a similar position and is truly passionate about flying to use it as an opportunity to gain more experience and build more knowledge to enable them to return as a stronger candidate for their next application."

Alice Farrell - Aer Lingus Cadet

"My name is Alice Farrell. I am 23 years old and from Rathfarnham, Dublin. I graduated last September with a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from Maynooth University. I applied to the 2015 Cadet Pilot Training Program as I decided to wait until I had completed my degree before I applied.

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Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut. I loved anything and everything there was about space and flying. Hence, I chose my degree in Physics with Astrophysics. The introduction of the Cadetship meant for the first time that the dream of actually flying and being a part of the world of aviation was now a realistic potential for me.

I found learning to study again wasn't overly difficult as I had just left my degree and had went straight into an MSc in Safety and Human Factors in Aviation at Cranfield University. The Masters in particular required a lot of diligence and independent study which I found prepared me well for the style of studying here in FTE Jerez. The biggest word that sticks out for me with regards to studying here is discipline. You may find you have to work harder than others or study some subjects less or more but it is about understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and where you need to dedicate your time, while also maintaining a healthy balance with social outlets.

Finding out the news that I got the Cadetship was definitely one of the best days of my life. I had been in contact with a couple of the other candidates who all seemed to get the call with good news. My wait was a little longer and time dragged by painstakingly slow until I realised I had already switched my mobile back to my English number. Having switched the numbers back over, then the real wait began. At the time, I was in the car with my Mam on the way to the airport to go back to my studying my Masters at Cranfield. I got the call off Captain Stephen O'Reilly while in the departure car drop-off in Dublin Airport. It was an amazing moment to experience all of the emotions that come with realising your dream is one step closer. It was even more special to have my Mam there beside me for the whole experience as she has supported me in any decision or ambition I have ever had for as long as I can remember. My excitement in the car with her was brief as I then had to rush for my Aer Lingus flight to Birmingham. That entire flight was surreal as the phone call was beginning to sink in and here I was on an Aer Lingus flight barely an hour later listening to the Captain speaking and realising that one day this could be me.

As corny or as cliché as my advice may seem, I would recommend any candidate to simply believe in themselves and their capabilities. Looking back, I was potentially my biggest threat/weakness to myself in the competition as I sat in the waiting rooms and group scenarios and at times didn't genuinely feel I was as good or had the same qualities or experiences as some of the other candidates there. This self-doubt could have been detrimental to my application. So although I clearly don't recommend overconfidence, a strong level of assurance in yourself and the qualities you can bring is definitely a good thing."

Emmett O'Gara - Aer Lingus Cadet

"I have been fascinated by airplanes for as long as I can remember and pestered my parents every year to buy me a remote control airplane. They eventually gave in and got me one for my 13th birthday. I joined my local model Aero Club in Longford and learned a great deal about how aircraft controls work, albeit on a small scale.

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My Dad once told me about a colleague he worked with in the ESB who had been accepted as a cadet pilot by Aer Lingus. It sounded as good as winning the lottery to me and gave me encouragement that I too could one day become an Aer Lingus pilot. In 2011 when the Maintenance and Engineering apprenticeship was advertised I applied and was fortunate enough to be offered a place. Being 'hands on' was always something I enjoyed so it was an amazing opportunity to get practical experience and knowledge of the A320 and A330 aircraft and of course I was working for Aer Lingus, a dream come true.

Working within Aer Lingus and with the Airbus fleet reaffirmed that I ultimately wanted to become a pilot. I was always happiest doing work in the flight deck and whenever I got the opportunity I would speak to pilots about their job and how I could pursue that career. I had applied for the Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot Training Program 3 times prior to 2016. Each time I had gotten a little further in the process. Preparation is the key to success and I spent every spare minute I had going through technical information about the A320 and rehearsing my interview questions and technique. There are some aptitude and skills tests involved in the selection process which cannot be prepared for, but practicing some basic maths certainly helped. Overall the selection process was thoroughly enjoyable and I met some wonderful people along the journey.

When I got the phone call to tell me I had been successful, I felt ecstatic! I really don't think winning the lottery would top it! It didn't really sink in until I was on the plane to Jerez! I was lucky enough to be given a jump seat on the flight over and who was sitting in the Left hand seat only Captain Ronan Glennon, the man who had once worked with my dad and then trained as an Aer Lingus cadet. It was a surreal experience!

So far the journey has been very fulfilling. The training is difficult and requires a lot of discipline and determination but it's extremely rewarding, particularly when you get to fly solo for the first time! There is a lot of course work to study and many evenings are spent with your head in the books, but everybody helps each other out and a lot of people study in groups which can be very helpful.

Being selected as an Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot is absolutely a dream come true. In just a year's time I will be flying a green A320 with a 'Shamrock' call sign around Europe and I can't think of anything I would rather do than that!

I would definitely recommend the Cadet scheme to others. It requires motivation, determination and a desire to succeed in what is a demanding training course. The rewards are incredible, the views of Andalusia from the Piper Warrior are breathtakingly beautiful and the challenges involved in flying an aircraft keep you on your toes!

My advice for anyone who wants to become a pilot are to do as much research as you can, prepare thoroughly for each stage of the process and make sure that you are determined to be the best that you can be. If you really want it, you can achieve it thanks to this fantastic Cadet Pilot Training Program."