Fuel operations assistant

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Sam works at Bristol airport as an operations assistant for Air BP. She carries out all the administration and some of the operational work involved in refuelling aircraft. Once she obtains her heavy goods vehicle licence, Sam hopes to train to refuel the aircraft as well.

What are your main role?

I get involved with fuel management, which involves checking and sampling incoming loads of fuel to make sure they meet the required specifications.

What are your daily tasks?

I collect, check and sort fuel sales tickets and information about incoming fuel loads and fuel reloads into our vehicles. I operate equipment for sampling fuel quality, such as a thermometer, hydrometer and conductivity meter. I read and convert various gauge readings from the side of fuel storage tanks.

What skills do you need for your job?

I need to be computer literate and have numerical skills. I must have good communication skills to deal with colleagues over the phone, face-to-face and by email. Being able to work as part of a team is invaluable, as is being able to work independently. I need to be enthusiastic, flexible and able to keep calm under pressure.

What equipment do you use?

Apart from the testing equipment I use the base radio to communicate with the refuellers (drivers) while they are working, and the base car to collect and escort visitors or deliveries.

What hours do you normally work?

I have to be quite flexible. My main hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm, but sometimes I start earlier to deal with early morning incoming fuel loads.

What is your workplace like?

I work in a light, airy office on a busy airport fuel farm. My window looks out onto the main apron, so I can see aircraft movements all day. I work with eleven aircraft refuellers and one manager.

What training have you received?

Training is on-going. I have been trained in all my work tasks, including using the system we use for testing and monitoring the fuel supplies and keeping track of all the deliveries. Other training I've had includes first aid, driving on the runway and defensive fire fighting. I'm re-trained regularly to keep my skills fresh and up to date.

What do you most like about your job?

I like the fact that there's always something happening. As well as this, working in an airport gives me a real sense of pride; even though I'm such a small part of the process, I help to ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely, comfortably and on time.

What are your career plans?

I hope to get my HGV licence soon, and be trained to refuel aircraft. I'll also be trained to conduct all the required tasks, inspections and tests that need to be carried out on various pieces of equipment so that I can become a more versatile member of the team.

Sam's route to becoming a Fuel operations assistant

  • GCSEs.
  • Advanced GNVQ in Art and Design.
  • Worked for airport security, then airport taxi company.
  • Current role as fuel operations assistant.

Sam's Fuel operations tips

  • Be flexible, constantly willing to learn and conscientious.
  • Having an interest in the aviation industry is an advantage in this role.

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Fuel operations assistant salary

  • Starting salary for an operations assistant is around £13,000.
  • Refuellers start at between about £19,000 and £25,000.

Becoming a Fuel operations assistant

  • Entry requirements vary among employers, but applicants often need GCSE/S grades (A-C/1-3) and/or relevant experience.
  • Employers run their own training courses lasting for four to eight weeks on an airport site.
  • To become a refueller, an HGV1 (Heavy goods vehicle) driving qualification is necessary. To gain this, you must be 21.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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