The aerospace engineering companies involved in the Flying Start Challenge all offer young individuals opportunities for early careers. If you are a student who enjoyed competing in the challenge, and you have an interest in engineering, please see the below information on what our sponsoring companies can offer you.

Airbus are at the forefront of innovation and a proven leader in global aerospace. Airbus designs, manufactures and delivers cutting-edge commercial aircraft, helicopters, military transporters, satellites and launch vehicles, as well as providing data services, navigation, cyber and communications security, urban mobility and other solutions for customers on a global scale.

At Airbus, we draw on each other’s expertise and experience and put our passion and determination into exploring sustainable aerospace developments. We connect to the best minds. We make bold decisions. We find smart solutions. We get the world’s most advanced technologies off the ground.

Graduate Schemes

As a graduate at Airbus, you’ll be taking your first steps towards building a big career. This means moving through a series of rotational placements that will enable you to explore different areas of the business in-depth and to develop the experience, knowledge and understanding you need to progress throughout the organisation. What you do will make a difference – on the ground, in the sky and in space.

Departments you can join include:

Engineering, Quality, Project Management, Finance, Human Resources, Supply Management, Customer Services & Support, Cyber, Manufacturing, Marketing and Digital


As an Apprentice at Airbus, you’ll be taking your first steps towards building a big career. This means moving through a range of different placements that will enable you to explore different areas of the business in-depth and to develop the experience, knowledge and understanding you need to progress throughout the organisation. What you do will make a difference – on the ground, in the sky and in space.

Schemes which you can join: Digital & Technology Solutions Degree, Plant Engineering Manufacturing Aerospace, Technical, Quality Engineering, Business Degree, Customer Services Engineering, Procurement and Supply Chain Degree, Plant Mechanical and Electrical, Supply Chain Operations Degree, Engineering Degree, Engineering Technician and Craft Manufacturing Aero Apprenticeships


As an Intern at Airbus, you’ll be taking your first steps towards building your career. You’ll have the opportunity to expand your skill set and get hands-on experience in a vibrant environment, working with talented, inspiring people. What you do will make a difference – on the ground, in the sky and in space.

We offer a wide variety of opportunities across many disciplines – ranging from engineering, IT, cyber, procurement and finance to strategy, customer support, marketing and sales. Please note: Most of our internships are of twelve months’ duration, although shorter internships are occasionally available.


At BAE Systems, we develop advanced defence technology to provide our customers with a competitive edge across the land, sea and air. We employ a workforce of over 85,800 that operate in over 40 countries which make up one of the largest global defence suppliers in the world. We take over 1000 hires into our early careers schemes every year and continue to invest £90m+ annually into education and skills.

We’re bringing a unique strategy and vision into the future of defence. We aim to be the premier in international defence by staying true to our values of being trusted, innovative and bold.

Graduate Schemes

Our graduates and undergraduates are happy to be working in real projects developing real skills from day one. As a company we aim to include graduates from a range of diverse backgrounds and cultures with the skill and enthusiasm to support projects and drive our programs.

Joining our schemes at BAE Systems will reward you with a competitive salary, generous leave and a comprehensive benefits package including share schemes, product and service discounts, professional mentoring, innovative training programmes and a commitment to protect your work life balance


We offer over 30 award winning apprenticeship programmes across our sectors and sites in the UK that span a massive range of areas in engineering and other fields such as finance, project management and cyber security. Our apprentices strive to be the future leading experts in their respective field and grow through the knowledge and experience passed down through the mentors at BAE Systems.

With an average of 2000 apprentices in the business at one time, there is no other place with more experience and infrastructure on which to support your early career and transition into future opportunities and roles.

Leonardo Careers

Leonardo employs around 7,000 people throughout the UK, 67% of whom hold highly skilled positions. We are one of the largest employers of engineering apprentices and graduates in the UK, with more than 400 people on undergraduate, graduate and apprentice training programmes.

In the UK, Leonardo spends around £3.5 million on employee training and development annually, providing young people with the opportunity to gain qualifications through on-the-job training, whilst simultaneously undertaking academic study.

Leonardo’s growing footprint offers real depth of capability; with more than 45,000 employees worldwide, we have the global resources to deliver. By instilling the importance of engineering in younger generations, we nurture the talent of tomorrow and help guarantee our future business prosperity.



Leonardo is a large employer of engineering, manufacturing, business and cyber apprentices in the UK, with over 400 graduates and apprentices in training at different facilities across the country.

Entrants to the programme, typically aged 16-19 on joining, undertake an intensive training programme lasting two, three or four years, depending upon the scheme, which results in their graduating with a substantial depth of skills in the area in which they have specialised. The programmes consist of both academic “off-the-job” and structured “on-the-job” learning.

Graduate Schemes

Each year we seek to recruit enthusiastic people who are willing to drive change and innovate. All our opportunities for undergraduates provide practical experience and development in a supportive environment.

Our two-year graduate training programmes have been designed to support your first steps after leaving university and to help you develop your career. Through a comprehensive induction programme, you will have the chance to gain a complete picture of the organisation and be involved in real challenges from day one. You will have the opportunity to learn from colleagues who are experts in their field, while always being encouraged to use your initiative.


At Leonardo, we have long believed that offering placements and work experience is invaluable to employers and students, enabling them to understand the full diversity of a career in STEM.

Undertaking a UK placement with Leonardo can open up your horizons to the diverse and dynamic ways in which your studies can be used within the global high-tech company. Leonardo offers the following placement opportunities:

  • Work experience
  • Summer Internships
  • Industrial Internships
  • Placements in partnership with EDT as Year In Industry (YINI)

MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. We are a multi-national company made up of over 10,000 employees working across the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the US. We are the first truly integrated European Defence company; supplying all branches of the armed forces. We are currently ranked 11th in The Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies To Work For in 2019.

Training Schemes

  • Week-long work experience placements for Years 11, 12 and 13 in Bristol, Bolton and Stevenage
  • Nuffield Research placement schemes for Year 12 via SETPOINT
  • Various award-winning Engineering Apprenticeships
  • Engineering-sponsored degrees within Mechanical Engineering
  • Summer placements for university students
  • Undergraduate year-long placements
  • Two year Graduate Programme

We are one of the world’s leading producers of aero engines for large civil aircraft and corporate jets. We are the second largest provider of defence aero engines in the world. Rolls-Royce is well established in the marine sector where we design vessels and integrate power systems. We have a growing presence in civil nuclear power, drawing on our skills and experience of over 50 years in powering nuclear submarines. Our MTU brand is world-renowned in high-speed diesel engines powering applications as diverse as rail locomotives and luxury yachts.
We support our customers through a worldwide network of offices, manufacturing and service facilities.

Rolls-Royce offers a wide range of opportunities across company. Joining Rolls-Royce means you could be working on awe-inspiring innovative projects, driving business-critical initiatives and learning from world-class professionals. Wherever you choose to hone your knowledge and develop expertise, you’ll be part of a company with a future every bit as exciting as its history. For more information on any of the schemes listed below, please see the Rolls-Royce Careers Website.


  • Apprenticeships – GCSE Level or Equivalent
    • Practical Apprenticeships
    • Technical Apprenticeships
  • Apprenticeships – A Level or Equivalent
    • Degree level apprenticeships from Engineering to Commercial; Management Accountancy to Project Management


  • Internships
    • 6 to 12 month Internship placements across the business
    • 10-12 week Internship placement
  • Graduate Scheme
    • 18 – 30 month Graduate Programmes across the business from Engineering to Customer & Services Management; Procurement to Human Resources.
  • Work Experience
    • Practical and Technical Week long experiences across the business
Safran Landing Systems is the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems. Company capabilities encompass the full life cycle of our products, ranging from design and manufacture to in-service support, repair and overhaul. Safran Landing Systems is a partner to 30 leading commercial, military, business and regional airframers, and supports more than 27,000 aircraft making over 54,000 landings every day. The company employs more than 7,000 staff working in locations across Europe, North America and Asia.


Our scheme involves academic or professional study, job specific, technical and soft skills training and number of placements within the organisation. We offer advanced and higher apprenticeships typically in the following areas;

  • Fitting, Machining
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Processing (NDT, Surface Finishes)
  • Facilities (Mechanical/Electrical)
  • Finance and Purchasing

Graduate Schemes

  • Graduate scheme – our 2 year rotational programme includes multiple rotations at one of our UK sites, as well as both a national and international placement.
    • All Engineering Disciplines
    • Supply Chain
    • Program Management
    • Human Resources


  • Internships – from 5 weeks duration to a year placement, paid internships are available on a business-need basis only, and typically in the following areas:
    • Engineering
    • Materials & Processes
    • Purchasing
    • Finance
    • IS
  • Work experience – school students can experience a week’s placement, within one business area.