From Aviation student to Pacific Aerospace

From Aviation student to Pacific Aerospace

During my time at NMIT, I earned the nickname 'Hollywood' because I went from shy to outgoing in under two years. At 21 years old I’m where I want to be, working for Pacific Aerospace in Hamilton as a fabricator making all the parts needed on an aircraft. Next step - flight line!


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NMIT Aviation graduate Connor Roycroft

Hi, I'm Connor Roycroft and here’s an insight into my story - I hope it helps as you embark on your study journey at NMIT.

What do you want to do with your life?

It’s a big question, eh. I left high school wanting to be a pilot. I intended to get into the air force but didn't quite make officer position. It's quite cutthroat. Lots of people go for it. I did flight experience while working a few jobs after high school but then got offered a job at Pacific Aerospace(external link). They contracted me for a month and ended up keeping me for nearly two years. I left of my own accord to upskill, choosing the Aeronautical Maintenance Engineering at NMIT. In my two years at Pacific I'd pretty much done everything but lay my hands on the aircraft because I wasn't qualified!

Life has its twists and turns no matter how clear you are - just take the next step.

Leaving home...again

When I was ten years old my family moved from England to New Zealand so I went from knowing everyone in my home town to knowing no one in a strange place. When I finished intermediate school I moved to a high school on the other side of Hamilton. I was in a different place yet again with none of my friends close by and I felt quite alone. It was a similar feeling moving out of home for the first time, knowing that I'd be in the south island for two years. I felt way out of my depth and that feeling didn’t ease for at least six months.

Study anxiety and goal setting

I was probably one of the quieter ones to begin with. I’d been out of high school for a couple of years so I was quite nervous about studying again. I had to find my rhythm in how to study again. I wasn't 100% sure what to expect but I had a goal: to work on the XL750 manufactured at Pacific Aerospace. Once I set a goal I don't question myself. My next goal is to move into final assembly. Goals work - trust me!

The reality of hands on learning

It is so different compared to high school. My high school was very formal. The teachers were often quite closed-in whereas the atmosphere at NMIT was great. The tutors reminded us that we have to put the work in to get the gain. You're never forced to do anything. You do it because you want to or because you have to in order to achieve your own goals. Instead of always giving you the answers the tutors make you find them for yourself - even if it does take a bit longer. That learning technique really suits me. I don't like being told or forced into what to do - I do it for a good reason.

Reaching out for support

My three main tips

1. Talk to people who have done the course already. If you're considering a specific path, then talk to someone in that section of the industry. I talked to a few people who'd been in the air force previously and I talked to a few people who’d been through the course. This helped me make a decision that was right for me.

2. Never be afraid to ask either a tutor or Information Technology or SANITI(external link) for help regarding study or any issues you have.

3. I saw a student counsellor for a while and that set me straight. My sessions were free because the counsellor was in training. I was in a bit of a bad place, stuff was going on at home, and I just needed someone to talk to. It helped me set goals that were achievable and made me realise that I am fine and would complete the course.

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