Top 5 Tips - Career Change

by Peter Hamilton-Gray on Mar 21 2019
Hi, I’m Peter, one of many cadets here at L3 Airline Academy that’s swapped a successful 9-5 in order to pursue my dream of becoming an airline pilot. The following are 5 top tips I’d have found particularly helpful prior to joining flight school:

1) Knowledge is key.
Maybe you’ve been an avid reader of many aviation related articles, or maybe this is your first step and introduction into the world of aviation, either way, research is the key in helping you to understand if this is the right step. Even from casting a quick glance at the current demand for airline pilots indicates that there’s a large gap waiting to be filled. Looking at various ATOs, my decision was based upon several factors, however from assessing L3s airline partners and placement figures at the time of submitting an application, my decision was relatively easy. That being said, reading and experiencing are two different things. Open days are a fantastic way to interact with the company as well as both current and former cadets, who can help to further open your eyes to the day-to-day realities of training. I’d advise that if you are to attend an open day, gather a number of questions beforehand so as to better help structure your conversations and cover all initial areas of interest/ curiosity.

2) Timing.
Since starting my training, I’ve met a number of cadets at many differing stages of life. Some have recently married, others have families, and whilst others may have been working the 9-5 for 10-20 years, one thing uniting us all is the passion and drive to succeed in this field. The main question I kept asking myself prior to submitting an application, ‘is now the right time’? This is one of the most important and yet difficult questions that only you can answer. What I would recommend is writing out a list of your goals for the next few years. What would you expect to be doing in your current position in the next 2, 5, 10 years VS what would you expect if heading down the Commercial Airline Pilot route in that time? By simply weighing up the arguments, you’ll very quickly see a lean to the one route or another at a specific time.

3) Make provisions.
There is no shrugging off the fact that aviation is expensive. As such, having been accustomed to a salary and a particular lifestyle, it was somewhat a shock to once again become a student. Prior to embarking upon this journey, ensure you’ve carefully read all of the literature L3 have made available with regard to potential costs and finance options available (check out a recent blog on this). If you’re unsure as to any of the items covered, contact the team at L3 who have an extensive knowledge on this topic. I would certainly have a think and note down all expenses you’d likely incur whilst training and then add a buffer for any unforeseen items. This will help to visualise the likely costs and ensure you’ve set aside enough to sustain you throughout your training.

4) Prepare yourself.
If like me, you’ve been out of education for a while, trying to re-enter the world of study can seem somewhat seem like an uphill battle. The one thing that became apparent very quickly was the amount of devotion and focus required in order to absorb the large volumes of data provided at ground school. Unlike our 9-5s where work would often remain at the office for the following day, I found myself taking work home and studying late into the evenings. With this level of devotion required, it is just as important to prepare others around you as much as yourself. In order to be successful at both ground school and the later stages in training, you will have to put in those extra hours. This often means missing out on family/ friend events and cutting out a large portion of your social life for a while. As painful as this might sound, keep focused on the end goal (it’s worth it!).

5) Contact.
If you’ve read through these tips and feel like now is the time to take that next step towards your dream, pick up the phone to L3’s recruitment team. Take your time; weigh up the options and make an informed, educated and calculated decision in starting your journey towards the dream. My final parting words are that if we wait for the ‘right time’ it might never come…

All the best – Pete!