Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship

Ground specialist attending to an aircraft

Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship

Aviation Ground Specialist
Overview of Role
Working in a specialist role supervising the safe arrival, turnaround and departure of aircraft at airports, military bases, heliports and other airfields.
15 Months (13 months Practical Period of Training + 2 months for End Point Assessment)
Suitable for Roles Within
Aircraft Handling, Aircraft Movement, Fire Fighter, Flight Operations, Passenger Services
Airports, military bases, heliports and other airfields
End Point Assessment (Awarding Organisation)
Highfield logo
Start Date
Flexible around the needs of the business
Progression from this apprenticeship is expected to be into an aviation operations manager role.
Maximum Price


Prices are negotiable depending on the nature of the delivery model agreed.

Visit our Apprenticeship Funding page to see your options for funding.

Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship
Learning Goals

Apprentices will learn

  • Running and supervising aviation operations and teams to complete complex aviation tasks
  • Completing and coordinating complex aviation tasks - including working with air traffic control and passenger services operations
  • Using key aviation systems - including identifying faults and errors and taking remedial action
  • Maintaining aviation security procedures and systems
  • Implementing and monitoring emergency procedures and dealing with emergency situations
  • Identifying, handling and dealing with dangerous goods
  • Specialist aircraft handling, aircraft movement, fire fighting, flight operation or passenger service skills
  • Health and Safety practices and legal requirements and monitoring them within an aviation environment

Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship

Core Aviation

All aviation ground operatives must have all of the following core knowledge, skills and behaviours.

(Know it)
(Show it)
Safety Health and safety legislation in aviation and in relation to  own role and organisation and how to monitor it. Monitor area of responsibility to ensure compliance with aviation legislation and organisational procedures, addressing and / or reporting hazards.
Security Requirements for maintaining aviation security in own area of authority and action to take in the event of a breach of security. Ensure aviation security is maintained in own area of operations e.g. challenging people in restricted areas, recording and reporting of security incidents.
Compliance and Legislation Aviation and other applicable legislation, procedures and regulations relating to an aviation environment, and monitoring procedures within own area of responsibility. Monitor compliance with legislation, procedures and regulations in an aviation environment within own area of responsibility.
Communication Aviation and other applicable legislation, procedures and regulations relating to an aviation environment, and monitoring procedures within own area of responsibility. Communicate effectively within the working environment, adapting methods and language to meet the situation.
Inter-personal skills Roles within the team and how these work together to achieve the organisation’s objectives, and how to embrace equality and inclusivity in the workplace. Maximise team performance and meet the objectives of the team whilst embracing equality and inclusivity.
Aviation Systems The aviation systems used within own role and how to operate them, identify faults or errors and what remedial action to take. Use aviation systems effectively in own role. Take remedial action upon identification of faults or errors in a timely manner if they occur.
Disruption, incidents and emergencies Implement and monitor emergency procedures in own area of responsibility, the range of potential incidents and disruption that may occur and the appropriate action to take. Monitor area of responsibility and take appropriate action to reduce the impact of emergencies, incidents or disruption.
Dangerous goods Dangerous goods relevant to a range of aviation operations and how to deal with them effectively in own area of responsibility. Deal effectively with dangerous goods in own area of responsibility.
Aviation timescales Key timelines for aviation operations performance and consequences of not meeting them. Operate each stage of the aviation operations performance to ensure timely aircraft movements.

Behaviours (Live it)

  • Embrace and promote the values of the organisation
  • Treat team, customers and other stakeholders with courtesy and respect
  • Take ownership and responsibility of role and working area, including team members where responsible
  • Display loyalty, integrity and accountability to the organisation
  • Commit to continuous development of self and team, including improvements to systems and processes
  • Be vigilant and proactive in promoting a safe, secure and compliant working culture

Specialist: Aviation

Aviation Ground Specialists must demonstrate ONE of the five following specialist functions.

Specialist function 1: Aircraft Handling

The aircraft handling specialist takes day to day control of key functions and services applied to the aircraft and its environment on the ground. They will operate either as a specialist performing complex handling tasks or lead and supervise their team in an aircraft turn-round function, loading and unloading of passenger baggage and air cargo, safely and conforming to current carrier/organisational standards. Effective decision making, communication and influence on others are important aspects of the role, as well as being aware of commercial pressures and operational deadlines along with protecting brand reputation at all times. Acting as a professional role model, responsible for their actions and those of their team, to be a good ambassador for their organisation.

(Know it)
(Show it)
Marshalling The detailed requirements and procedures for the correct movement, placement and marshalling of aircraft and the importance of detailed controls for mover vehicles. Safely manoeuver and position vehicles, monitoring team to ensure correct marshalling hand signals and techniques are used.
Loading instruction report The importance of the correct preparation and interpretation of and conformance to loading instruction reports (LIR) for both inbound and outbound aircraft, within aircraft weight and balance characteristics, structural limitations and compartment maximums. Produce and complete a  LIR/Load Sheet compliant with aircraft type and within manufacturer’s limitations, delegate and brief teams to complete the tasks defined by the LIR and monitor their compliance and performance in accordance with the LIR.
Load and unload The loading and unloading procedures for all types of aircraft in area of operation, including hold doors, floor locks, nets, and inter plane systems and how to apply the principles of restraint and manage the assets and team to deliver an efficient service. Plan and prepare the airside environment with sufficient Air Cargo Handling Equipment (ACHE). Lead, supervise and mentor the team during the on/off load of the aircraft, by providing briefings, delegating tasks, checking loads are safely restrained and that the process complies with the LIR.
Specialist equipment The requirements and responsibilities of  self and team members in checking specialised equipment, including Unit Load Devices (ULDs), prior to use, ensuring safe operation and correct storage after use. Monitor and supervise team members carrying out daily inspections prior to using the specialist equipment, including ULDs, ensuring its safe operation and that it is left in a safe, secure, allocated area after use.
Servicing As a specialist, all aspects of aircraft servicing/turnaround management, pre/post use checks of holds and all hold locks. Demonstrate/mentor and supervise the preparation and configuration the aircraft holds for departure.

Specialist function 2: Aircraft Movement

An aircraft movement specialist is responsible for the efficient movement and recovery of fixed and rotary wing aircraft and the safety of other team members at a variety of airports / heliports and other landing platforms within the civil aviation and military arenas. They take responsibility for team members using specialised equipment to move aircraft within an aviation environment in accordance with standard operating procedures.

(Know it)
(Show it)
The operation of an airside vehicle Briefing the team to prepare prior to use airside, and procedures for safe operation of airside vehicles, including how to deal with incidents or emergencies while operating an airside vehicle. Monitor team members preparing to use a vehicle airside, ensure vehicle operations comply with aviation standard operating procedures and implement the correct procedures in the event of incidents or emergencies with an airside vehicle.
Operate Aviation specialist equipment The requirements and responsibilities of  self and team members in checking specialised equipment prior to use, ensuring safe operation and correct storage after use. Monitor and supervise team members carrying out daily inspections prior to using the specialist equipment, ensuring its safe operation and that it is left in a safe, secure, allocated area after use.
Airside Marshalling How team prepare the area and required equipment prior to marshalling of aircraft and or vehicles, correct marshalling procedures, including the correct monitoring of operation of marshalling equipment and team members. Monitor the team to ensure correct preparation of the airside environment for marshalling of aircraft and or vehicles, and monitor marshalling of aircraft and or vehicles in accordance with organisation’s standard operating procedures.
The safe manoeuvering of aircraft vehicles and personnel airside The rules and regulations for aircraft, vehicles and personnel operating airside and how to ensure compliance with airport safety requirements. Ensure the rules and regulations for aircraft , vehicles and team members operating airside are adhered to in accordance with airport safety requirements, identify and report risks and ensure compliance in line with organisational procedures.

Specialist function 3: Fire Fighter

Unfortunately we are not presently able to offer this pathway.

Specialist function 4: Flight Operations

Flight operations specialists should provide guidance and leadership to colleagues in the flight operations team, facilitating the smooth flow of air traffic by providing information both themselves and with the support of team members, to key stakeholders includ ing flight crew and air traffic controllers. They may be employed in an air traffic control tower, operations room, military installation or in other areas such as the Terminal Control Centre at Swanwick in Hampshire.

(Know it)
(Show it)
Support flight operations The role of a specialist in supporting flight operations and operating conditions. Support and monitor team members to collect, collate and supply information and complete other duties during flight operations.
How to devise and implement relevant procedures in the event of an aviation incident / emergency. Devise and implement relevant procedures for use in the event of an aviation incident/emergency.
Monitor the weather in an aviation environment The procedure to obtain weather forecasts their key features, what the data means for flight operations and how the information must be used. Obtain, interpret and act on weather forecasts in line with organisational procedures , taking appropriate action to ensure the optimal performance of flight operations based on the report.
Reducing aviation hazards Application of procedures for identifying, reporting and reducing aviation hazards, and the process for distributing pertinent information on aviation risks. Accurately apply the procedures for identifying, reporting and reducing aviation hazards and distribute pertinent aviation safety information to relevant stakeholders within the required timescale.
Resolve multifacted aviation issues Identification of aviation issues and the different choices to resolve them, including how to implement the most appropriate solution, determining when the situation has been resolved satisfactorily, and what action to take if it has not. Identify aviation issues and select and implement the most suitable solution, reviewing the situation to ensure it has be resolved.

Specialist function 5: Passenger Services

A passenger operations specialist takes day to day control of key areas of the passenger journey through the airport. Working with a range of internal and external stakeholders and agencies they must provide an efficient and effective experience that meets and exceeds customer needs and maintains operational and regulatory standards. Effective decision making, communication and influence on others are important aspects of the role, along with protecting brand reputation at all times.

(Know it)
(Show it)
Travel documentation How to deal with issues relating to passports, visas and other statutory or organisational travel documentation required for travel, including procedures for and implications of making decisions on acceptance or refusal for travel. Monitor passports, visas and other travel documentation in area of responsibility, dealing with issues as they arise by liaising with other organisations and agencies appropriate to the travel destination making recommendations for action and validation.
Check in Operational systems and procedures for check in and how to deal with check in issues, including the impact of decisions made and how to maintain operational standards of performance and customer satisfaction. Work with check in team, senior management and other stakeholders as required to maintain operational standards and commercial performance, customer satisfaction and address check in issues, e.g. late check ins, overbooking, complaints, excess baggage and special requests and requirements.
Gate Processes Systems, procedures and monitoring requirements for boarding, departure and arrival of passengers. Liaise with the customer, airline and colleagues to ensure efficient boarding, departure and arrival procedures meeting service standards and aviation regulations. Proactively address issues that arise at the gate, making effective decisions to ensure a satisfactory outcome and on time departure.
Know how to maintain equipment and address failures of equipment and processes to minimise disruption and delay.
Customer Service and Communication How to deal with complex customer needs which may affect the aviation operation. Monitor area of responsibility to ensure customer satisfaction and adherence to operational standards Communicate effectively with passengers, crew and other parties in the event of disruption, keeping them informed of progress, actions and results.
How to communicate to customers in challenging situations in individual and group situations Understand the procedures for service recovery. Address complex customer needs to ensure service standards and individual requirements are maintained.

Transferable Skills

Before taking their end-point assessment apprentices must achieve level 2 English and maths (equivalent to GCSEs at grades A* to C).

Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship Vacancies

Live Aviation Ground Specialist Apprenticeship Vacancies

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