British Science Week 2023 - An insight into Aeronautical Engineering

March 14, 2023 - Scott Jennings, Brandon Gunion, Sean Donnelly

We are Ayrshire College students studying PEO (Aircraft Maintenance) at Ayrshire College, Ayr Campus.


As students studying STEM subjects, and pursuing careers in the local STEM industry, we would like to mark British Science Week 2023 by reflecting on our learning journey, on our course and looking forwards to our future careers.  

“My name is Brandon, and this is my first year of studying PEO Aeronautical Engineering. I had just left school and was really into building, mechanics, and, craft and design, so I thought it would be good to expand my knowledge and learn as much as I could to get a good career in the aircraft industry. I heard about my course through a family friend, who recommended it to me. I have really enjoyed my PEO course so far; it’s hands-on and practical, and a great way to develop your tools and problem solving skills.  I would like to eventually get an apprenticeship and travel the world- I would like to work abroad, working as an aircraft mechanical engineer. I’m also interested in pursuing a career as an army mechanic and I know having a PEO qualification can open a lot of career doors.”   

“My name is Sean, and I’m a new student to Ayrshire College- I’ve been really enjoying my PEO in Aeronautical Engineering and will be staying at Ayrshire College next year to do the NC level 6 course in Aeronautical Engineering. I chose to study PEO as I really get a lot of job satisfaction from working with tools and the feeling of achievement when I finish making something by myself. I am also very interested in aircraft, specifically planes. I recommend studying Aircraft maintenance at Ayrshire College; I’ve really enjoyed it so far because I’ve been given great opportunities in the workshop. I’ve made pulley brackets, and access panels. The lecturers are supportive. Eventually, I’m hoping that this course can lead me into an B1 Mechanic Apprenticeship with RyanAir or Spirit who are both based locally at Prestwick hub.”   

“My name is Scott and I’m a returning student who has previously studied painting and decorating at the Kilwinning campus for 2 years. I was able to progress very well throughout my time there, with achievements such as ‘Student of the Year,’ but I did not find that my long term interests were with painting and decorating. Now as a returning student 6 years later, I’m now a STEM student studying PEO (performing engineering operations). I’m trying to pursue a career in Aeronautical Engineering, with the help of Ayrshire College I hope for the opportunity to be working in one the local industries such as Spirit, General Electric (GE), Ryanair, or Collins. So far within my first year I have gained a great amount of knowledge in engineering maths & the workshop, gaining the experience of what it takes to be within in the local industry and building relationships along the way. This has also helped be in great position already to put myself forward on applying for work and give me the experience to set myself up for future.”

We asked our lecturer, Will Morton a few questions, for a lecturer’s perspective on the aeronautical engineering course.  

Where will the aeronautical engineering course take students? 

“Students studying stem subjects will position themselves well for applying for engineering apprenticeships. Currently there is a skills shortage in this area so there are lots of opportunities now and for the future within the Prestwick aerospace park and beyond. This year BAE systems are taking on approximately 3000 apprentices and a number of these are based within the ship building industry in Glasgow and the aero industry in the north of England.” 

What do you think students will gain most from learning your subject? 

“Basic engineering hand skills and understanding of engineering modelling and drawing creation.” 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

“I enjoy the ‘lightbulb’ moments when a student learns a skill and then becomes a little more independent. Hearing about a student gaining employment in the industry is a very satisfying as that is ultimately out purpose as lecturers.” 

We hope that our insights have helped you to see that studying Aircraft Maintenance (PEO) at Ayrshire College can be a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. If you are interested in applying for a PEO course, or another STEM subject at Ayrshire College, take a look at the online prospectus.  

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