Alumni - Case Study

Ready for take-off - former student Rob Reece is living his dream

Rob Reece

Former Macclesfield College Engineering student Rob, 24, was able to develop his skills and build his experience with a truly ‘hands-on’ course at Macclesfield College.

Learning in a traditional classroom environment had never really appealed to Rob Reece. He found that the endless hours ‘with a nose in a book’ didn't really work for him and he wanted something different. Now working as a Line Engineer with Thomson Airways, at Manchester Airport, Rob reflects on his progress and the route to his dream position:

“Macclesfield College was great. Being at the college, it was very different to school - the lecturers treated me with respect, like an adult, and I really enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the course. I wanted to get out of the classroom environment and this course was a perfect mix for me” said Rob.

When he started his course at ECAT - Macclesfield College’s specialist engineering school - Rob found that ‘something different’ he was looking for, and revelled in his studies, excelling on a two-year BTEC National Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. He was given the chance to take up an Apprenticeship with airline company First Choice and says he was given the ideal platform at Macclesfield College.

“My course gave me a background in the industry and gave me theory about flights, which was brilliant as it allowed me to take this into a professional role.

“I always recommend Macclesfield College to friends - as a lot of the College’s courses are vocational, it is the ideal place to go to learn skills.”

Rob completed his course in the summer of 2006 and immediately took up his role with First Choice Airways - now Thomson Airways - and after completing the scheme, progressed quickly to his job at Manchester Airport.

“Day to day, I am responsible for the safety of the aircraft when it comes in from a flight” Rob explained, “there is a hand-over from the crew in which they detail any defects in a technical log - I then take care of the general servicing, maintenance and making sure there is no wheels or engines hanging off!

“Ultimately, I sign for the release of the aircraft before flights and with up to 250 passengers on board, safety is paramount. There are pressures to the job, but I go to work every single day enjoying my job and I am very happy to do the job I do” he said.

Having been inspired by watching his sister’s RAF passing out parade, Rob resolved to follow in her footsteps after leaving school, initially hoping to gain grounding in aeronautical engineering to set him up for his own RAF application. Such was his progress on his BTEC National Diploma course, though, he has quickly moved through the training ranks in commercial aircraft maintenance, and has never looked back:

“This was always the point I wanted to get to and it is the top role in my chosen area, so I am very happy and settled” he said, “I have moved through the training so fast that I thought I would be 30 before I get to this point!”

Part of Rob’s current role involves flying to stricken aircraft all over the world, assessing and addressing their faults and getting them ‘back home’. With scope for jet-setting, Rob said he is faced with many opportunities for foreign travel and experiencing an ‘Around the World’ lifestyle.

“When you enjoy your job every single day, it isn't hard to go to work in the morning” he said.