The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have launched a new Work-Study Diploma (WSDip) in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, which provides training and certification for Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) serving as Air Force Technicians.
This is the first WSDip programme for NSFs – which allows them to work as Air Force Technicians, serve their National Service, and attain a Diploma at the same time. It is open to NSFs with relevant ITE qualifications, in areas such as Aerospace Technology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Robotics.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, ITE and RSAF will be collaborating with ST Engineering Aerospace Limited, SIA Engineering Company Limited, and the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) to develop the training curriculum for the programme. In addition, ST Engineering, SIA Engineering Company Limited, and the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) will be according recognition to the programme for employment of its graduates.
Training the Next Generation of Skilled Aircraft Technicians
Designed to build a pipeline of skilled aircraft technicians for the RSAF and the aerospace industry, the WSDip in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering would equip trainees with industryrelevant skills in performing maintenance of aircraft structures and systems. It also serves as an alternative pathway for ITE graduates to upskill themselves and build their careers in the aerospace industry.
The course will be conducted over 2½ years, with 70% of the curriculum comprising on-thejob training at RSAF, and the remaining 30% comprising theory and practical training at ITE. This is similar to other WSDip programmes by ITE.
The first intake for the WSDip in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering will commence training in April 2021.
Graduates of the programme may sign on as regulars and be employed as an Air Force Engineer (Maintenance) under the Military Domain Expert Scheme in the RSAF. They may also pursue career opportunities in aircraft maintenance in the aerospace industry, with ST Engineering Aerospace Limited, SIA Engineering Company Limited, or member companies from the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore).
Ms Low Khah Gek, Chief Executive Officer of ITE, said, "The launch of this programme marks a significant milestone in our continuing efforts to expand skills upgrading and career progression opportunities for our graduates. What is unique about the programme is that graduates get to acquire the desired skills and a recognised Diploma, while completing their National Service. Combined with the strong support from our industry partners in recognising the programme certification, this gives a valuable boost for our graduates to kick-start their careers in the aerospace sector."
She added, "In the same vein, ITE will also be collaborating with the Army to extend the WSDip in Electrical Engineering to NSFs serving as Army Technicians."
Major-General (MG) Kelvin Khong, Chief of Air Force, said, "The Work-Study Diploma programme allows ITE graduates to continue building on what they have learnt while serving NS. They will be able to upgrade their skills and qualifications while serving in operational roles in the RSAF at the same time. This will also open up career pathways for them in the aerospace industry after they complete their NS duties with the RSAF. In the current climate where the aviation sector is hard hit by COVID-19, we need to continue supporting employment and training for workers in this sector, so that the workforce is ready when aviation starts to recover, and we can help our aviation sector emerge from this COVID-19 pandemic stronger."
Mr Lim Serh Ghee, President of Aerospace, ST Engineering, said, "Ensuring a strong pipeline of talent to grow with the aerospace industry’s evolving needs has always been part of ST Engineering’s focus. This collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education and the Republic of Singapore Air Force offers a good platform to jumpstart a career in the aerospace sector, and we look forward to contributing our industry expertise and knowledge to help develop a rigorous course curriculum for participants."
Mr Ng Chin Hwee, Chief Executive Officer of SIA Engineering Company Limited, said, "Aircraft maintenance skills and experience are the core competencies of aircraft technicians. This Work-Study Diploma creates a pathway for participants to work towards a Diploma qualification, hone their practical skills and gain valuable industry-relevant experience whilst serving National Service. SIA Engineering Company fully supports this programme and will tap on this pool of qualified RSAF technicians when they ultimately transit from military service."
Mr Philip Quek, President of the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) (AAIS), said,
"Despite the current slowdown in air transport, there is strong consensus that the mid-term prospects for the Singapore aerospace industry remain positive. We must ensure that we have the capabilities and talent to support the upturn in aviation when we eventually emerge from this crisis. AAIS is pleased to support this programme, which will develop a pool of well-trained technicians with rich hands-on experience, who can add value to the future of aerospace here. We look forward to supporting servicemen who choose to pursue careers in commercial aerospace after their tenure, by connecting them to opportunities."