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Applications for courses starting in September must be completed by Friday 30th June. Applications received after this date will go through our late interview and enrolment process. This may delay your course start date.

About Finding an Employer

You MUST have an employer before you can start an apprenticeship. You can search for an apprenticeship job here.

If you don't yet have an employer you can still apply for an apprenticeship while you continue to look. We can offer you advice on how to successfully secure an apprenticeship with an employer.


Typically duration is 12 Months – 1 day a week in College & 4 days a week in the workplace


An aviation ground operative could work in a number of environments, such as a commercial airport, military base / aerodrome, heliport or other airfield. With five key specialist functions, all working in conjunction with each other, aviation ground operators form the teams above and below wing to ensure the efficient and effective arrival, turnaround and departure of aircraft. At the heart of the role safety, security and compliance with aviation regulations focus each operator’s day to day duties. Effective communication and team work ensure that passenger services, air traffic control (ATC) and those moving, loading, unloading and servicing a range of aircraft achieve the objectives of their organisation in this diverse field.

Am I ready to start?

4 GCSEs at grades 2-9. Interview and reference.

What does the course involve?

The course covers the essential Skills, knowledge and behaviours required across 8 key areas. These include:

  • Security
  • Safety
  • Compliance and Legislation
  • Aviation Systems
  • Disruption, Incidents and Emergencies

Aviation ground operatives will complete ALL core knowledge, skills and behaviours, along with ONE of the five specialist functions outlined below.

  • Aircraft Handling
  • Aircraft Movement
  • Fire Fighter
  • Flight Operations

Passenger Operations

How and when will I study?

Apprenticeship Standards are assessed through independent end point assessors. Your role as an apprentice may vary depending on your employer. Learners that have not yet achieved a minimum of grade 2 or E in GCSE English and Maths will be required to complete a Level 1 functional skill qualification and they must also have taken the test at Level 2 prior to completion of the apprenticeship.

Final End Point Assessment involves a combination of two, one hr examinations, 1 Observation and a professional discussion. Learners must pass all 3 elements to complete the apprenticeship.

You will also be expected to collate a portfolio of evidence throughout the apprenticeship.

This qualification is graded Pass/Merit/Distinction/Fail

Down to business, what can I do and what can I earn?

On successful completion of this qualification learners can progress into a Ground Operatives role with the potential to develop into an aviation operations specialist role.

The Aviation industry offers many exciting career opportunities and we provide clear pathways to a successful career.   This qualification is your first stepping stone into a role within the industry. With further study and experience you could eventually be working as an Aircraft Handling Manager, Aircraft Movement Manager, Fire Fighter watch Manager, Flight Operations Manager – Air Traffic Control (ATC), Passenger Operations Manager and more.

We currently work closely with a number of companies to ensure learners are developing the skills they require to successfully progress into a sustainable career with a reputable business. Companies we are currently working with include Swissport, Manchester Airport Group, Universal Aviation, Flightworx and many more.

Approval Status

Subject to approval by awarding organisation

Got a job?

You must have a job to do an apprenticeship. If you already have a job you may be able to do an apprenticeship with your current employer.

If you don’t have a job for your apprenticeship – apply for your place at College by clicking the 'Apply Now' button at the top and bottom of the page.

Once you have applied please check out our apprenticeship job vacancies.

An apprenticeship comprises two parts:

  • Typically 20% study element (at Harlow College or Stansted Airport College).
  • 80% work based element with an employer. It is your responsibility to find an employer.

Great, so what do I do now?

Call 01279 868240 to speak to an Apprenticeships adviser

Contact us about applying for an Apprenticeship