Aviation companies open doors to students

Hawker Pacific's aviation staff Alvin Wong giving a tour to Ngee Ann Polytechnic's students during Aerospace Day @ Seletar Aerospace Park. Students witnessed maintenance and paint jobs done on planes, and also tried their hand at drone-flying, glider
Hawker Pacific's aviation staff Alan Wong giving a tour to Ngee Ann Polytechnic's students during Aerospace Day @ Seletar Aerospace Park. Students witnessed maintenance and paint jobs done on planes, and also tried their hand at drone-flying, glider making and 3D printing. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

For motorheads, there's nothing like the smell of burnt rubber, but for aeronautical engineering student Aretha Chanokporn Law Hwee Cih, the thrill is in getting a close view of plane parts being welded, and getting a whiff of the heated metal.

The third-year Singapore Polytechnic student has been trying out the profession during her 22-week internship at General Electrics Aviation, which will end on Aug 10.

Ms Law, 20, was one of 800 students from the polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) that got to visit 18 aerospace companies yesterday, including Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. The companies opened their doors to students on Aerospace Day @ Seletar Aerospace Park.

"I've always wanted to try welding, but I've only done a small experiment in school," said Ms Law. "The event gave me a good idea of what the aviation industry is like."

Students witnessed maintenance and paint jobs done on planes, and also tried their hand at drone-flying, glider making and 3D printing.

The event is the first of many student outreach initiatives planned for the aerospace sector, according to co-organiser JTC Corporation. Some 1,500 students are expected to benefit from the initiatives annually.

In January, the Government launched a new aerospace industry transformation map (ITM) that could create 1,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020.

The ITM, which could add $4 billion in value to manufacturing in the sector, identified three key areas, including equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills.

Mr Ng Lang, chief executive of JTC, said: "This collaboration with our industry partners aims to facilitate closer engagement between the education institutions and aerospace companies.

"Students will be exposed to advanced manufacturing technologies and have a glimpse of the exciting career opportunities that await them in the aerospace industry."

Mr Louis Leong, vice-president of Hawker Pacific Asia, said the partnership not only creates awareness of Hawker Pacific within the student community, "but also helps to raise interest and provide an appreciation for the people and processes that support this industry".

Correction note: An earlier version of this story identified Hawker Pacific's staff wrongly in the photo caption. This has been corrected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2018, with the headline 'Aviation companies open doors to students'. Print Edition | Subscribe