Aviation careers expo: The sky is the limit (2022)

A possible career in aviation is capturing the attention of Western Bay of Plenty college students.

Almost 50 Year 12-13 students and careers advisory teachers from eight local colleges attended the Aviation Careers EXPO held in the Boeing Room at the Classic Flyers venue at Tauranga Airport.

The Legacy Trust sponsored event, held in July, was staged by the Bay of Plenty Branch, Royal Aeronautical Society - RAeS - in conjunction with the Classic Flyers aviation museum.

The expo was convened by branch chair Dr David Lyon who introduced a range of local speakers who each talked about their own career and what had motivated them to choose one of a multitude of options in aviation and what this had meant for them.

“Having local speakers talk about their work and career choice provided an important basis for the expo,” says RAeS Bay of Plenty secretary Des Underwood.

Kicking off with his flying career, James Hunter, the newly qualified flying instructor from the Tauranga Aero Club – TAC - told his story of learning to fly and his first solo flight, before gaining his private pilot licence with the ability to fly passengers anywhere in NZ.

“He chose to become a flying instructor which gave him a job here in Tauranga,” says Des.
Local licensed aircraft maintenance engineer Colin Alexander then spoke about the role of aircraft maintenance engineering and the responsibilities it entails.

With more than 20 years as CEO of Solo Wings, he went on to review the personal qualities the role demanded and the variety it offered.

Tauranga senior air traffic controller James Pengelly outlined the qualifications and training required to become an air traffic controller in NZ with Airways Corporation.

“Among his slides was one which noted the role of the air traffic controller was to ‘prevent collisions between aircraft’,” says Des.

JNP Aviation CEO Verghese George from Whakatane started by asking students what they expected to get from the expo. He then explained that JNP Aviation managed the entire airport operation at Whakatane but had expanded with airport support contracts with Air NZ and other airlines to provide airport operations support at airports throughout NZ.

Alice Jones then spoke of the variety of roles the company had to support JNP Aviation contracts and noted JNP Aviation Training had recently become a private training establishment accredited by NZQA to provide formal training courses and qualifications for the various airport operations support roles.

Tauranga Airport Operations Manager Pam Walters introduced the roles required to support airports operations. By way of example, she was accompanied by three fully kitted crash fire fighters.

The firefighters brought the airport’s crash fire tender for viewing during the lunch break and remained to answer questions with students getting to snap the odd selfie.

With lots of hungry mouths to feed, lunch was included in the expo, delivered by the Avgas Café team.

The break provided the opportunity for careers advisors to get together.

After lunch students were challenged to complete a ten-question short answer quiz introduced by Branch Secretary, Des Underwood, an aviation historian.

He explained the answers to the ten-question short answer quiz could be found among the aviation heritage aircraft and displays collection in the main display hangar, without having to climb or dismantle anything.

Armed with their quiz questions, the students set off to find the answers.

This quest saw students, teachers and other museum visitors filling the Museum with the multi-coloured uniforms of the students among the equally colourful museum aircraft collection.

Aviation careers expo: The sky is the limit (1)Year 12 and 13 students attending the Aviation Careers Expo at Classic Flyers.

New Zealand Division

Bay of Plenty Branch Verghese George, CEO of JNP Aviation from Whakatane, started by asking students what they expected to get from the EXPO.

He then explained that JNP Aviation managed the entire airport operation at Whakatane but had expanded with airport support contracts with Air NZ and other airlines to provide airport operations support at airports throughout NZ.

Alice Jones then spoke of the variety of roles the company had to support JNP Aviation contracts and noted JNP Aviation Training had the recently become a Private Training Establishment accredited by NZQA to provide formal training courses and qualifications for the various airport operations support roles.

Tauranga Airport operations manager Pam Walters introduced the roles required to support airports operations.

By way of example, she was accompanied by three fully kitted Crash-Firemen.

The firefighters brought the Airport’s Crash Fire tender for viewing during the lunch break and remained to answer questions and students got to snap the odd selfie.

With lots of hungry mouths to feed, lunch was included in the EXPO which was delivered by the team from the Avgas Café.

The break provided the opportunity for Careers advisors to get together.

After lunch students were challenged to complete a ten-question short answer quiz introduced by Branch Secretary, Des Underwood, an aviation historian. He explained the answers to the ten-question short answer quiz could be found among the aviation heritage aircraft and displays collection in the main display hangar, without having to climb or dismantle anything.

Armed with their quiz questions, the students set off to find the answers. This quest saw students, teachers and other museum visitors filling the Museum with the multicoloured uniforms of the students among the equally colourful museum aircraft collection.

While the quiz was being marked, the convenor then introduced the final session with by introducing Mark Snalem from Ringa Hora (formerly ServiceIQ). Mark outlined apprenticeships and aviation careers with various training institutions, together with careers options with the RNZAF.

David Lyon then made a presentation on behalf of the Massey University School of Aviation outlining the various academic qualifications available, and the pathways to a range of aviation careers as an outcome of studying with that university.

The sponsored expo prize winners were then announced by the Quiz convenor who presented the two prizes, including the Tauranga Gliding Club’s glider familiarisation flight which was won by a student from Te Wharekura o Mauao, and Tauranga Aero Club’s trail assessment flight which was won by a student from Bethlehem College.

A take-away bag was handed out to students and teachers containing careers related and pamphlets on the pathway to multiple aviation careers.

“To enable attending students to return later with their families, Classic Flyers have generously provided family entry passes to Classic Flyers Museum,” says Des.

“Also included in the takeaway bag, students were invited to send in a voluntary assignment for submission. A student from Tauranga Boys’ College was awarded the Classic Flyers-sponsored Harvard familiarisation flight, for his prize-winning submission.”

Des says in closing the expo, slightly ahead of time at 2pm, David Lyon acknowledged the sponsorship by the Legacy Trust and thanked everyone for their participation and the generous support of the team at Classic Flyers.

“Being passionate about making connections for others in aviation, David says he regularly follows SEEK and continually found vacancies in aviation, particularly in engineering.”

In noting this was the first expo run by the Bay of Plenty Branch, David Lyon also says the event was part of a national ‘Youth in Aviation’ initiative of the NZ Division, RAeS.

“He concluded by saying, with the continued support of sponsors, he looks forward to being able to make the expo an annual event. Meantime, the speakers and the takeaway material would make it possible for the students who attended this year’s expo to further explore the multiplicity of careers in aviation, where the sky is the only limit.”

- Report by Des Underwood MRAeS, Secretary Bay of Plenty Branch, RAeS

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