Career in Aircraft Maintenance

Have you ever had an "Aha" moment? Cassidy Liew, a student in the Diploma of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, experienced an epiphany at the tender age of 7 when he went on his first flight. "When I boarded the plane and looked out, I was curious and wondered how an aircraft functions." reminisced Cassidy.

After getting 9As for his SPM results, he researched for a course in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, and his heart was set to pursue his childhood dream through Nilai University. Now, under Nilai University's Scholar Collaborative Academic Programme, Cassidy tutors his peers. If Cassidy's story chimes with you, read on to find out the steps to become a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer in Malaysia.

First, it is important to know that the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (DAME) at Nilai University is open to both Science Stream and non–Science Stream students. However, students will need to obtain the following scores in their SPM results:

  1. Three Credits in English, Mathematics, and Physics or Science
  2. Passed Bahasa Malaysia
  3. Passed Sejarah

Also, students should be medically fit and have excellent eyesight and hearing with no colour blindness and hearing impairment.

Charles Tee, first set foot on the cockpit at 19 years old when he followed his father to work. There and then, he knew his calling was to excel in the aviation industry. He recalled that during an interview at GE Aviation; the interviewer asked him if he could explain how to tie 3 bolt wire and a gas turbine engine system. Luckily, he could recall what he had learned during his Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, and this sealed a position for him at GE Aviation.

The second step would be the most vital and yet daunting, as prospective students have lots of choices when many universities, colleges, and training centres are offering similar courses. However, Charles Tee, Nilai University's 2010 graduate, was thankful that his father transferred him from another institute to Nilai University because his father firmly believed that an aircraft maintenance engineering course must incorporate EASA Part 66 syllabus. Looking back, Charles felt that students also consider both the educational institute's reputation and course syllabus.

Rinisha, a final year student in DAME agreed and recalled that two other educational institutions recommended her parents to consider the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering course offered by Nilai University.

Since the inception in 2008, the Diploma of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (DAME) offered at Nilai University incorporates the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) syllabus, preparing students for EASA Part 66 category B1.1 and B2 license examinations. Students will sit for EASA license examination simultaneously while pursuing the diploma. It is the 1st step in gaining a full EASA license.

Third, the overall course structure comprises both theory and hands-on training for students. In the first year, students will study eight subjects such as basic aerodynamics, electrical fundamentals, digital techniques, etc. While in the second year, students will have to complete another nine subjects such as human factors, aviation legislation, gas turbine engine and more.

Propelling a conducive learning environment, facilities at Nilai University are among the best in the country. "The purpose-built hangar has two aircraft and students have access to proper tooling and equipment to enhance their practical training," said Rinisha.

Apart from the in-house practical training, students will also undergo six months on-the-job-training with Airbus, Air Asia-X or KLM. Osama, an Advanced Diploma Aircraft Maintenance Engineering final year student, claims that the on-the-job-training benefited him most. He recalls undergoing six months on-the-job-training at Airbus where he applied his knowledge on maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of an aircraft. Besides gaining technical insights, he realised that he felt comfortable working with colleagues from diverse culture. From then on his confidence grew and he charts his course for a supervisory and management role within the aviation industry.

Fourthly, another crucial fact to tick off would be if the diploma course offers further advancement to higher qualifications. Once students complete their diploma, they have an option to pursue their Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology at Nilai University or to join the workforce.

Charles graduated with a Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering in 2010, and three months later, he was offered a position at Top Glove Bhd as an assistant maintenance engineer. Then, he advanced his career in the aviation industry with GE Aviation as a trainee mechanic. After working for a few years, he pursued a part-time course in Advance Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology in 2018.

While Osama for Bangladesh continued his Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology directly after graduating with a Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. While both were inspired to follow their fathers' professional foot-steps as engineers, they opted for different paths in pursuing the same qualification.

Students will take only a year to complete the Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology, and upon completion, students will also receive an engineering degree from Kingston University, UK.

"Once enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology, you may apply through the Royal Aeronautics Society (RAES) and register as an Incorporated Engineer (I.Eng)." Osama shares with excitement.

The Diploma and Advanced Diploma with a top-up UK degree from Kingston University offer students the flexibility to either pursue a career as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer or to move on easily to supervisory and management roles.

Embarking on a journey to become a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer requires not only passion but skills, knowledge, and maturity are equally important. "Students who have completed either their Diploma or Advanced Diploma must complete five years of working experience in maintaining, repair and overhaul of aircraft before applying for EASA Part 66 Basic License. A time frame of 5 years seems realistic because we should consider the students' maturity and experience before applying for EASA 66 Basic License.” explains En Zohdi, Programme Coordinator of DAME, Nilai University.

Prospects in the aerospace industry seem promising. The Malaysian Government has reported that it targets to achieve RM16billion revenue for 2019 and Boeing, the world's biggest planemaker predicted deliveries worth USD$6.3trillion in the next two decades.

However, Charles Tee cautioned that while a career in this industry may seem lucrative and enticing, one needs to consider thoroughly and be authentic that your passion will withstand adversity.

Therefore, before deciding on your next step, it is advisable to research further. Nilai University's education counsellors and experienced lecturers will be able to guide and assist in your pursuit for precise information, hence leading to an informed decision.

We are open daily except on weekends and public holidays. Please call us at 06-850 2308 for an appointment or click on our website at or visit our campus in Nilai.


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