New partnership takes flight

New partnership takes flight

Air New Zealand and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) | Te Pūkenga have signed an agreement to work together in responding to the country’s skills needs for aviation engineering.
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Pictured from left: Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti;  Alex Marren, Chief Operating Officer AIRNZ ; Brendon McWilliam, General Manager Aircraft Maintenance and Delivery AIRNZ; Kate Neame, Interim Operations Lead, NMIT Te Pūkenga

A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the national carrier and the business division for the country’s network for vocational education opens new opportunities for ākonga (learners) in the region and beyond.

The Minister of Education Jan Tinetti spoke at the MoU signing to show the Government’s support of the initiative.

NMIT | Te Pūkenga Aviation School of Engineering’s specialised tutors provide training to more than 150 ākonga annually to build, repair and maintain a variety of aircraft.

The partnership will ensure there’s a clear pathway in both General Aviation Engineering – the school’s current focus – and the airline industry.

The first outcome of the MoU sees Level 3 and Level 4 New Zealand Certificate of Aeronautical Engineering introduced at NMIT along with the sharing of resources and expertise. The certificates provide a foundation for trainees to move into Air New Zealand’s apprenticeship programmes.

“It’s great to be working closely with Air New Zealand to foster the industry’s talent pipeline while offering ākonga greater choice and support for where they see their futures’ heading,” says Reid Carnegie, NMIT Curriculum Area Manager— Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Alex Marren said the airline currently has more than 70 aircraft maintenance roles open across the country on top of our annual graduate recruitment programme.

“The collaboration with NMIT will help build a career path for students and make it easier for Air New Zealand to take on NMIT graduates.

“Exciting times are ahead at Air New Zealand as we continue to rebuild our international network, further grow our domestic services, and strive for a future with next generation aircraft. It’s critical we have the engineering and maintenance workforce to meet our operational needs. The global job market for aircraft engineers is highly competitive, and the MoU will help to ensure we are developing local talent here in Aotearoa,” says Ms Marren.

Discussion between Air New Zealand and NMIT on a partnership began through both organisation’s membership of Ringa Hora (Services) Workforce Development Council (WDC) as well as via Marlborough’s proactive Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG), Marlborough District Council and stakeholders who have prioritised aviation as a core focus for Marlborough.

Te Pūkenga, RSLGs and WDCs are major outcomes of recent reform of vocational education. Success under this collaborative system means empowering employers – including Māori business – to have confidence graduates are ready for work and that future skills needs of their industries will be addressed.

“The MoU is a win for the new joined-up approach we are taking to training to make sure we are doing everything we can to nurture the people who will keep Aotearoa New Zealand flying,” says Te Pūkenga Tumu Whenua ā-Rohe 3 | Executive Director, Region 3, Mark Oldershaw.

The partnership has developed in time for Aviation Engineering to be added to the local Trades Academy initiative delivered through high schools in the area. From next year, a group of Year 12 and 13 students will have the opportunity to learn the principles of aviation and engineering on remote controlled planes while completing NCEA.

“It allows us to begin the development of the next generation of engineers while they’re still at school and highlight what sort of high value careers young people can have through the sector,” Mr Oldershaw says.

“We’re also looking forward to seeing how we can realise the benefits of the partnership with Air New Zealand across our national network which - in aviation engineering provision - also includes workplace training provider Service IQ | Te Pūkenga,” he says.

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