Has aviation always interested you?

One of my earliest memories as a child was watching delta-wing Vulcan bombers taxi on the Royal Air Force base where my Dad was stationed. I have always admired aircraft as machines and by the time I went to university I was keen on an aviation career.

What is your background?

Since university my background has largely been in sales and marketing. After a year working for a national newspaper I went to work for Flight International, which helped set the course for a career in aviation. The magazine gave me a broad knowledge of the aerospace industry and I was fortunate enough to take advantage of an industry-sponsored flying scheme enabling me to gain a pilot's licence. I went on to gain a commercial licence and instructor rating. My next job was with a major provider of simulator and pilot training before joining Storm Aviation.

Nick Wilcox - Storm Aviation
 © Storm Aviation

What sort of skills are most in demand at the moment and how is the downturn affecting your business?

The majority of our placements are for experienced pilots, engineers and senior management positions within airlines. In addition to placing personnel on contract we also source individuals for full-time employment with our customers. One key thing for the recruitment team is to ensure applicants are not just briefed about the roles they are considering, but also that they and their families have a solid brief on the airline culture and base location.

Layoffs in the European industry have understandably resulted in an increase in the number of online registrations we receive from people looking for work. We continue to place personnel in Europe and are preparing for an increase in placements as we move into spring. Our customer requirements in Asia and the Middle East continue to expand.

What are the best bits of the job...and the worst?

Best bits: I still get a buzz from doing business with airlines in countries I have not visited before. I enjoy understanding the company culture and developing the relationship. It's particularly satisfying when the relationship is developed to an extent that the airline will outsource more of its recruitment function. Storm helps alleviate administrative workload for our airline partners requiring pilots by providing a full screening service, including technical and personal interviewing, psychometric and ability testing and simulator check.

I can't think of any bad bits. The aviation business is facing challenging times with the economic downturn, but it's important to remember that the industry has faced tough challenges in the past. Key industry predictions are still for considerable long-term growth in the demand for pilots and engineers.

What sort of people do you have on your books and what are the advantages of working on contract?

We have a wide variety of individuals, from middle to senior airline management, pilots and engineers. Most of the ground personnel are placed in full-time positions, although the majority of pilots and engineers tend to be on contract.

Contracting provides variety and the opportunity to experience working in different countries and work cultures without making a long-term commitment. It also gives individuals flexibility over where and when they work, enabling an improved work/life style balance.


Source: Flight International