Aviation engineering students prepare for take off: ‘I feel empowered’

Aviation engineering students prepare for take off: ‘I feel empowered’

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Flying around the world to take part in highland dancing competitions sparked Devon Gardner’s interest in aviation.

She thought about becoming a flight attendant or pilot, but an apprenticeship at Whangarei Airport after high school steered her towards engineering.

Devon’s part-way through her first year of the New Zealand Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering at NMIT.

“...the apprenticeship sparked my interest in the engineering side of things.”

During the two-year programme, she’ll complete two qualifications that will prepare her for a successful career in the Aeronautical Engineering industry.

Graduates of this course have gone on to work for major airlines such as Air New Zealand and Qantas, and in a wide range of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul roles.

Devon first got a taste for engineering when she took up an apprenticeship at Whangarei Airport and Northland Aviation Engineering.

“I’ve always loved aircraft. I was more into the flying side earlier on … but [the apprenticeship] sparked my interest in the engineering side of things.”Her employers recommended the course at NMIT because of its excellent reputation within the aviation industry in New Zealand.

George was always interested in the hands-on engineering.

George Hutchinson says aviation runs in the family. “Dad’s been a pilot for the last 30 years. My relatives are involved in aviation, too. I was always interested in the hands-on engineering side.”

Devon is one of a growing number of women in New Zealand who are studying in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.

However, aeronautical engineering is still a male-dominated industry.

“It was weird to start with because I went to an all girls school, and now I've come to a pretty much all boys school,” she says.

“But I fit in well. They don't judge just because I'm a girl or anything. They are all welcoming so that's good. Being a female in this industry is pretty cool because there aren’t very many of us. It's really fun and I feel empowered by it.”

She says she’s already learned a lot since starting the course in July.

“It's hard, but once you can do it, it's really satisfying being able to say that you've done something that's so difficult.”

Going forward, Devon says she’s more interested in fixed-wing aircraft, while George plans to focus on helicopter engineering.

Based at the Woodbourne Royal New Zealand Airforce base near Blenheim, students learn in a dynamic and immersive environment.

In the second year of the programme, students complete a work-based training course to get real-world industry experience.

The prgramme is popular and there are limited spaces available for each intake, so make sure to apply early.

There are two intakes each year in February and July. To learn more visit nmit.ac.nz/aviation-engineering(external link)

 

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