News & Views

The aircraft of the future

Industrial apprenticeship showed university is not the only option

Pav Bhogal

Age: 24
Occupation: Propulsion development for BAE Systems (aerospace and defence) 
Location: Warton, near Preston  

“I would have been bored out of my mind if I had gone to university straight after leaving school,” says Pav Bhogal. Rather than follow this route, he joined BAE Systems on a technical apprentice scheme. 

He says this taught him about practical aspects of manufacturing, from fashioning parts out of plastic and metal to using the latest computer aids to help design new engines. At school he did A-levels in a mix of topics – design and technology, maths, physics and art.

Having finished his three-year apprenticeship, Pav is now part of a 550-strong development group near Preston in north-west England, specialising in new propulsion systems for future generations of fighter aircraft – both manned and unmanned. He has now started a part–time course in mechanical engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“I have the opportunity now to work on many exciting new concepts and over time I hope to see them turn into new products,” says Pav. “I feel that a lot of doors are opening.”