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A new approach to pilot career opportunities

by Nicole Calliste Careers Executive

While many of our members know that BALPA membership brings with it many benefits, including industrial support in pay negotiations, legal support, and our collective power as an association to tackle flight safety issues, you may not be aware of the extensive support we can offer you in your career development.

Our membership team is not only dedicated to recruiting new members, but also ensuring our current members have access to career advice. This is why we offer tools and materials on our website, such as interview tips, advice on updating your CV, and insight into airline requirements. We also run careers events, some aimed at offering advice to aspiring pilots, some aimed at experienced pilots looking towards the next step.

Our recent Flight Crew Futures event at London Gatwick welcomed more than 150 experienced commercial pilots looking for career progression opportunities in the UK and overseas. We were joined by airlines and recruiting agencies specifically looking for type-rated flight crew to fill their right and left seats. We also hosted a series of informative presentations from BALPA experts, such as Darren William, BFS Managing Director BALPA Financial Solutions (BFS). Recruiters also gave presentations, which provided an overview of their current flight crew requirements, salary packages and employment terms.

Several high-profile stakeholders attended, including: CityJet, Direct Personnel, Emirates, Etihad, Norwegian, easyJet, FlightJobs, Flight Safety International and BMI regional. They all offered a range of information on finding a new role in a new airline, interview and preparation skills, and suggestions on how to search and find new roles in the aviation industry. We also had support from Conor Convey of our National Executive Council and Membership and Career Services Committee, and BALPA Chairman, Brenden O’Neal, who was on hand to offer advice. Greg Booth on behalf of Airline Prep, also spoke to attendees about the key points to remember when attending an interview.

Those attending had diverse backgrounds and varying levels of experience, including: non-members and members of BALPA, ATPL holders, type-rated pilots seeking career progression, experienced pilots considering a career move overseas, pilots looking for advice on how they can progress their career to the next step, and military pilots leaving the forces and now seeking pilot opportunities in the commercial sector.

It is clear that this event was beneficial for members. After the event we were sent this really positive feedback from one attendee:

“First of all, I would like to say that it was my pleasure meeting you on the event at London Gatwick Hilton Hotel. It was one the most exciting and also most productive pilot career events I have ever been to. I am sure BALPA will provide me with the right support and guidance in order to find my first job as an airline pilot with a successful airline. I am ready to take actions and all necessary steps in order to achieve my ultimate passion.”

We also got positive feedback from exhibitors, such as this one:

“This event is great! And nothing like I have seen before in the UK before. Such events where pilots can network with so many different agencies is a great resource, and today alone we have received over 20 CVs”

Hosting events such as these are important for engaging with our membership; allowing us to speak to members face-to-face. As a pilot association, this was a great opportunity for us to network, meet members and think about how we can better support pilots throughout their entire career journey.

We hope to continue delivering such sessions as these in the future, to support our growing membership.