Experts in aircraft engineering: meet Stephanie Harris, Aircraft Technician

Experts in aircraft engineering: meet Stephanie Harris, Aircraft Technician

Based at RAF Valley, Stephanie Harris is an aircraft technician working on the RAF’s Advanced Jet Training (AJT) Programme, which is responsible for training the UK’s next generation of world-class fighter pilots. Stephanie is part of the engineering team who work around the clock to provide critical engineering support to the Hawk T2 aircraft, ensuring mission-ready aircraft are always available.

Babcock (as sub-contractor to BAE Systems) has been working on the Hawk AJT contract since 2004, during this time our pro-active approach to Hawk T2 maintenance scheduling has reduced planned maintenance times and enhanced aircraft availability. We have a hugely talented team of engineers working on the contract, ensuring the aircraft are kept in top condition for their challenging flying tasks.

Explaining how her role in the deep maintenance team links with the other engineering teams on the contract, Stephanie says: “Our ‘Forward’ team prepare the aircraft for flight, dispatch it and then receive it back from aircrew after flight. The aircraft is then immediately readied for subsequent flying and maintained overnight, with any rectification work carried out and completed by the team so it’s ready to fly the next day.

“The ‘Depth’ team (which I work on) works rigorously to deliver regular maintenance services which involve removing panels and components to allow a detailed inspection of the aircraft; then raising and rectifying any faults we find as part of these inspections. Once complete we refit all of the components and carry out subsequent tests to ensure all the systems that we’ve disturbed and installed are working correctly.”

The cumulative experience and expertise of the engineers working on this contract makes RAF Valley a perfect place to train apprentices. Stephanie herself originally started as an apprentice with Babcock in 2016 where she recalls the practical experience and training as being instrumental in her education: “I really enjoyed the apprentice scheme. I enjoyed the fact that it was mainly on the job training. Everyone has their own way of learning, but I learn best when I’m doing things myself, trying things and being hands on.”

Addressing the national shortage of aeronautical engineers is a principal focus for Babcock, with apprenticeship schemes such as the one we have in place at RAF Valley, playing a key role in training the next generation of engineering talent. Babcock is committed to providing engineering excellence, both now and in the future. To find out more about our apprenticeship schemes, click here.