Accountancy firm PWC have predicted huge growth in drone operator jobs by the year 2030. This will be in a broad range of industry sectors from wholesale to defense. If you’re thinking about starting a drone business or finding a drone operator job there’s never been a better time.
Use of drones in industry is driven by the need to innovate, increase productivity and reduce costs. Amazon is a great example of how modern businesses are embracing drone technology. It may be some years before swarms of drones are over the UK’s sky delivering parcels, but Amazon are testing the use of unmanned aircraft in unique and exciting ways. Use of robots with advanced artificial intelligence will combine with drone initiatives.
If you want to enter the drone industry now, you’ll need to obtain a PfCO from the Civil Aviation Authority. This stands for Permission for Commercial Operations, and means you can legally offer your services and apply for drone operator jobs in the UK. Taking on paid work with a drone without a PfCO is against the law, and could land you in serious trouble.
A PFCO isn’t a drone licence as such, but it’s recognised in the industry and means that you have proved an understanding of drones and the regulations governing their use. The process of obtaining a PfCO involves a practical flight test as well as a written exam, so it’s something you need to invest time in. PfCO courses are typically run over two or three days, and can cost around a thousand pounds.
Some drone operator jobs can be learnt quickly, but others require greater levels of experience and expertise. For example, basic photographic skills would be a good grounding for work as an aerial photographer. A drone operator working on major construction projects would need experience in that field and an understanding of the specialist software used.