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Full Time
Target audience 

Engineers make the world and Hartlepool College of Further Education's School of Engineering makes engineers. Do you want to be the next aircraft engineer, aircraft maintenance technician or military aircraft technician? This programme is aimed at school leavers who wish to take their first steps on a path to a career in aeronautical engineering, and at learners who have completed the Level 2 Engineering programme and wish to progress to the next level of study within the aeronautical engineering strand.

Entry requirements 

Prospective learners typically have, at minimum, 5 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above, including Maths and English or a Pearson BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Engineering.

Alternative entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Course content 

The Level 3 aeronautical programme consists of one or two years of study.

Alongside a mandatory tutorial session, first year learners will complete a Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Engineering and a HCFE Engineering Practical Skills enrichment course.

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Engineering has been designed to provide a broad basis of study for the engineering sector and aims to prepare learners for entry-level roles in employment, entry into apprenticeships, further study and progression to higher education.  Learners will complete units covering:

  • mechanical science
  • electrical & electronic science
  • applied engineering mathematics
  • engineering processes
  • product design and manufacture
  • computer-aided science
  • flight principles & practice
  • aircraft gas turbine science

Alongside the Extended Certificate, learners will complete workshop sessions as part of our practical skills enrichment course; each learner will develop skills in  four different areas:

  • bench fitting
  • machining
  • aircraft hangar/workshop practice
  • aircraft wirelocking

Learners without a GCSE Grade 4 (or equivalent) in English and/or Maths will be required to complete a suitable qualification in these areas alongside their engineering course.

The mandatory tutorial session will allow learners to interact with their assigned tutor for progress and development, as well as engage with the Hartlepool College of Further Education tutorial programme.

Upon successful completion of the first year with an overall Merit grade in the Level 3 Extended Certificate and a positive endorsement from the course team, learners can progress to the second year of the programme and top-up their qualification to a Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering.  Learners will complete units covering the production of a student-led project, microcontrollers, application of calculus, commercial & quality principles, together with five specialist units in the aeronautical engineering, including aircraft workshops methods, aircraft electrical & instrument systems, airframe mechanical systems, aircraft propulsion systems and airframe construction & repair

Teaching & Learning 

A variety of teaching strategies will be employed in delivering this qualification, dependant upon the unit content. This may include lectures, seminars, practical work, simulated work environments and group activities.

Teaching and learning activities will take place in a range of specialist facilities, laboratories and classrooms.

The programme is delivered on a full-time basis, classes will be taught Monday to Friday.

Assessment criteria 

Assessment of the Level 3 Extended Certificate is at unit-level and is a combination of course work and examinations.   Engineering Principles (covering mechanical science, electrical & electronic science and applied engineering maths) is assessed by a terminal written exam.  Engineering Product Design and Manufacture is assessed by an 8 hour synoptic task completed under controlled conditions.  All  other units are assessed using coursework assignments, which are criterion-referenced.  Units are graded Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Overall, the Level 3 Extended Certificate will be graded between a P (pass) and D* (distinction star), based on the combination of the individual outcomes.  For those learners completing the full two-year programme, the Level 3 Extended Diploma is graded between PPP (triple pass) and D*D*D* (triple distinction star), based on the combination of the individual unit outcomes across the two years.

Learners will be assessed on their practical skills by workshop instructors and issued with a certificate of completion.


Upon successful completion of this programme of study, learners will hold qualifications that are recognised nationally by further and higher education establishments, as well as employers and other stakeholders.  This will enable them to progress to employment, higher apprenticeships and further study.

Both the Level 3 Extended Certificate and Extended Diploma carry UCAS points which, dependant on final grading, could enable learners to progess to higher education courses such as Higher National and undergraduate degree programmes.

Suitable progression opportunities within the School of Engineering include:

  • Level 4 HNC in Aeronautical Engineering (Full Time)
  • Level 5 HND in Aeronautical Engineering (Full Time)
  • BEng (Hons.) in Aerospace Engineering (Full Time-Teesside University Partnership)
  • MEng (Hons.) in Aerospace Engineering (Full-Time-Teesside University Partnership)



Other information 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to learners for use in the workshop.


Whatever course you choose, you'll get the highest level of training from specialist tutors, benefiting from their knowledge and experience of working not just in education but also in industry.

Application & Enrolment

You are able to apply online for all courses, however to complete your course enrolment fully, you will need to have an interview and then be accepted onto a course. The only courses available to enrol online are Full Cost courses, if you wish to enrol on any other course please call into Student Services or call 01429 295000.

Full Cost course fees are inclusive of VAT.

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