Flag carrier Air New Zealand (AIR NZ) and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in response to New Zealand’s requirements for aviation engineering skills.

The MoU oversees the airline carrier and the educational network working together to boost education in the aviation sector and provide new opportunities for trainees in the region.

The first qualifications provided are the level 3 and level 4 aeronautical engineering certificate, which provides the progression of trainees into the AIR NZ apprenticeship programmes.

NMIT Curriculum Area Manager Reid Carnegie said: “It’s great to be working closely with AIR NZ to foster the industry’s talent pipeline while offering ākonga [learners] greater choice and support for where they see their futures heading.”

NMIT and Te Pūkenga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, previously joined together to form a vocational education network.

According to NMIT, a student’s enrolment in a programme in 2023 will guarantee graduation with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

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Te Pūkenga further stated that its joint network with NMIT allows for specialised training on the building, repairing and maintenance of aircraft for 150 students annually.

AIR NZ COO Alex Marren emphasised the importance of a strong engineering workforce and highlighted how this partnership will enhance vocational education: “The collaboration with NMIT will help build a career path for students and make it easier for AIR NZ to take on NMIT graduates.

“Exciting times are ahead at AIR NZ 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.”

Following the partnership, high schools in the region will benefit from aviation engineering being added to the secondary-tertiary programmes, allowing year 12 and 13 students to learn the basics of remote-controlled planes while earning their NCEA.