Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Oisin McGrath from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:

Oisin McGrath

Lieutenant - Pilot - Air Corp

Defence Forces

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Oisin McGrath

If you are seriously considering applying for the Air Corps you should check the pre-required Leaving Certificate subjects as outlined in the cadetship booklet. This is very important!!

Also, if applying you should get the details of the fitness test from the cadetship booklet and make sure you can do each of the disciplines well before the fitness test...a lot of people fail this part of the application process, and it can be passed easily!

If possible, you should organise a visit to Baldonnel through somebody that you know or maybe even your school...just to get familiar with the aircraft and to see the daily operation of the Air Corps.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Fancy being a pilot? Aer Lingus are recruiting, no experience necessary!

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Fancy being a pilot? Aer Lingus are recruiting, no experience necessary!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018 

Fancy being a pilot? Aer Lingus are recruiting, no experience necessary!

Calling all aspiring aircraft pilots. An amazing opportunity has just been announced by one of Ireland’s leading airlines.

Aer Lingus have just launched their “Future Pilot” programme, which is a 14-month training programme aimed at recruiting new pilots to begin work in 2020. And the best news is, the only educational requirement is a Leaving Certificate. 


Aer Lingus pilots (Image: Jason Clarke)

Once candidates qualify from the training programme they will receive a Multi Pilot’s Commercial Licence and a position in the right-hand seat of an Airbus Aircraft. They will then be scheduled in to complete a 12-week course where they will learn how to fly the modern fleet of aircraft. The training programme begins in November 2018.

Aer Lingus are looking for technically minded people who possess excellent communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills.

To apply, candidates need to meet some essential criteria. You must be 18 years of age on or before 1st January 2018. You must have fluent English, be eligible to live and work in the EU, possess an up-to-date passport, and be able to pass vetting and a background check. You must also be able to obtain an IAA Class 1 medical and be able to provide two verifiable references.

For educational requirements you must have passed your Leaving Certificate or equivalent. You must have obtained O5 grades in English and Mathematics at ordinary level or H6 at higher level in the Leaving Certificate. You must also have a minimum of 2 higher level subjects with a minimum of H5 grades in the Leaving Certificate. Where the minimum Leaving Certificate or equivalent grades have not been met, you must have one of the following qualifications: A minimum of a Level 7 third level (ordinary degree) in any discipline or have completed an aviation-related apprenticeship.

Applications are accepted online via this link. Just follow the instructions to submit your application here.

All completed online application forms must be submitted by 17.00 GMT on Sunday 13th May 2018

The Aviation Sector is booming in Ireland, with Aviation companies spending 581 million dollars in Ireland in 2016. The sector grew 36% between 2012 and 2016 and is forecast to have grown another 22% by 2021. Read More. 

Captain Steve Kelly, Manager of Pilot Recruitment, said “Aer Lingus has a unique and proud history of Mentored Pilot Training which spans over five decades. During this time, these training programmes have provided an opportunity for many people to pursue their dream of becoming an Airline Pilot. Perhaps you never even considered a pilot career until now, but we are looking for candidates with a diverse background and education to join our team”.

The aim of the programme is to provide candidates with long careers as first officers on the modern Airbus A320 and A321 LR NEO aircraft.

Candidates are advised to apply early and prepare well to maximise the possibility of securing one of the limited places on the programme.

For more information visit the Aer Lingus website.


Other pathways to becoming a pilot

There are many other ways to become a pilot or first officer. Other airlines in Ireland that provide pilot training programmes include Ryan Air and City Jet. Both of their websites contain information on their programmes and explain how to apply. There are also academic pathways to becoming a pilot, one such pathway being Dublin City University’s Aviation Management with Pilot Studies degree. This degree offers three years of business analysis, learning the aviation sector, technical aspects of piloting and industry relevant work experience. During the forth year, students get the opportunity to enter flight training and qualify as a commercial pilot. Click here for information.

Another pathway is to obtain a licence from one of our flight academies. The Irish Aviation Authority offer the opportunity to obtain many different types of pilot licenses, including their Commercial Pilot Licence and Airline Transport Pilot Licence. Atlantic Flight Training Academy  offer a multitude of training programmes to suit every aspiration. Why not pop along to one of their seminars held throughout the country? Click here for more.

Don’t forget to also check out international training opportunities like The Pilot Flight Academy, which provide their two-year training in Norway. For the more adventurous types there’s also the Military pathway. The Flying Training School trains all Air Corps Cadets to become qualified pilots, as well as offering instructor training, weapons training and air tactics training. For more information, see


The CareersPortal Team