Kate Meleady from the Northside of Dublin was ‘never a dolly or dress-up kind of kid’ as she says. She spent her childhood making and fixing anything she could and looking forward to receiving toolboxes for Christmas – the plastic kind at first until she was old enough for proper tools.
Having done woodwork throughout secondary school, Meleady went on work experience for two weeks in Transition Year in a small helicopter company. From then on, fixing machines to ensure peoples’ safety was all she wanted to do.
Three years later she was accepted into the Aviation apprenticeship and received training. Now, she is an aircraft engineer.
‘I am proud of the purpose in what I do for a living. It is important work and it’s important to do it right – all the time,’ she says. ‘
There’s a lot of responsibility when it comes to signing off an aircraft, which Meleady takes very seriously. For an Aircraft Mechanic Licence, you must receive 4 years maintenance watched closely by an inspector. There are also numerous exams in which you have to get 75% or above.
It is difficult, but it is rewarding. ‘Aircraft engineers, mechanics, sheet metal workers and avionic technicians are the unsung heroes of aviation,’ says Meleady. ‘We’re the people who keep you safe every time you travel on an aircraft. Every action undertaken by a pilot is only possible because we have ensured the correct operation of the systems.’