For anyone who has just received their Leaving Certificate results, Congratulations! Whether you received the course you wanted or didn’t obtain enough points for your course or don’t know what career you’re interested in, I hope to show you the endless opportunities and backdoors into the aviation industry which are waiting out there for you throughout this blog. These include Post-Leaving Cert Courses, Cadetships ad Apprenticeships.


If you who didn’t receive enough points in your Leaving Cert for your desired course or don’t know exactly what college course you want to do, a Post-Leaving Cert (PLC) course can be the ideal option to get you started on your career path. PLC’s usually take a year to complete and can be carried out in many colleges and further education centres throughout the country. There are a wide variety of PLC courses and can be used as a backdoor route to get into your desired college course, or give you an insight into the career area if you don’t know what path you want to pursue.

In recent years there have been a huge increase in the number of aviation related PLC courses in education centres all around Ireland. Some of these PLC courses can also be used as an alternative route to get into college courses. Some of the most popular aviation related PLC courses include:


Aviation Finance – Rathmines College of Further Education

The duration of this full time PLC course is 1 year and after completion you are awarded with a level 5 award in Business Studies. Modules include Airline Studies, Accounting, and Work Experience in a relevant field. On completion of this course, students can apply to a wide range of CAO courses. Prospective studies can apply through the course providers website here.


Airline Studies – Dunboyne College of Further Education

This PLC course also lasts 1 year and is a full time course. Upon completion you are awarded with a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Tourism or Business. Modules include Tourism Principals, Customer Service Skills and Business Administration. Candidates can apply through the course providers website here.


International Airline Studies – Cork College of Commerce

This Full time PLC course lasts one year, and you can apply through the course providers website. Students are awarded a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Tourism with Business upon completion. Modules include Tourism information & Administration, Cabin Crew Operations and Global Distribution Systems. Successful students may be able to progress into many Cork Institute of Technology courses. For more information please see the providers website here.

Similar PLC courses to the courses listed above are provided in centres such as Colaiste Ide College of Further Education, Sallynoggin College of Further Education, Drogheda Institute of Further Education, Cavan Institute, Enniscorthy Vocational College, St. John’s Central College Cork, Waterford College of Further Education, and Central College Limerick. For more information regarding the courses and colleges mentioned above please visit the college websites or visit Qualifax here.


Apprenticeships and Cadetships are also great opportunities to enter into the industry particular if you want to pursue a career as a Pilot or an Aircraft technician/mechanic. Apprenticeships combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. Within the aviation industry, Apprenticeship courses are usually available for candidates looking to pursue a career as an Aircraft Mechanic. Most Apprenticeships open in the Spring-time every year and the most popular Aviation-related Apprenticeships in Ireland are as follows:


Aer Lingus Maintenance and Engineering Apprenticeship

This Apprenticeship usually opens in April/May each year and is in run in conjunction with SOLAS. In this 4 year long course, apprentices complete on-the-job and off-the-job training to become a fully qualified Aircraft Engineer with Aer Lingus. Essential criteria includes being 18 years of age, have completed your Leaving Certificate, and be able to pass a colour blindness test and medical assessment.


Atlantic Aviation Aircraft Maintenance Apprenticeship

This 4 year Apprenticeship covers Engineering and topics such as Avionics, Aircraft Structures, Jet Engines and Systems. Apprentices are awarded the National Craft Certificate by Quality Qualifications Ireland and an Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Licence by the Irish Aviation Authority, which is recognised internationally. Training takes place at SOLAS training centre in Shannon and DIT Bolton Street, Dublin. The programme involves both classroom work and hands on experience within the job. For more information click here.


Cadetships involve candidates completing their pilot training though a certain airline. Some airlines provide fully sponsored cadetships while others must be fully or partly sponsored by the candidate themselves. Fully sponsored cadetships are hugely beneficial to most as it covers the expensive training costs, but this also means that cadetships are usually highly competitive with only a few spots up for grabs. Another benefit of cadetships is if you are successful at gaining a place on an airlines cadetship, normally you are guaranteed an offer of a job with that airline after you’ve completed your training. The most popular Airline cadetships are as follows:


Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme

This Cadetship is fully sponsored by Aer Lingus and normally opens during the summer season. This cadetship takes place in FTE Jerez and Dublin, and takes approximately 18 months to complete in full. Essential criteria includes being 18 years of age, have completed your Leaving Certificate or have an equivalent educational qualification, and be able to pass a EASA Class 1 medical. On completion of the training, cadets will begin a career as a First Officer on their A320 and A321 LR NEO aircraft. For more information click here.


British Airways Cadet Programme

This cadetship is fully funded by the cadet themselves. Successful candidates will complete their training with L3 Commercial Training Solutions. Cadets have the option of following MPL (Multi-Crew Pilot Licence) or ATPL (Air Transport Pilot Licence) training. Essential criteria include being 18 years of age when commencing training, able to pass an EASA Class 1 medical. For educational requirements and ore information regarding this cadetship click here.


Ryanair Mentorship Programme

Ryanair offers 3 paths to become a pilot on their Boeing 737 fleet. Training takes place at AFTA (Atlantic Flight Training Academy). This ab-initio pathway is for cadets with little or no flying experience. Successful Applicants will undergo 16 months training that involves 220 hours flight time in Cork. This programme costs €83,000 and cadets must sponsor their own training. On completion of training, successful candidates will be offered a place on a B737 type-rating course within Ryanair. Pilots with more experience can also access this programme and more information can be found here.