Airways' stringent standards attract Saudi Arabian students

- Christchurch, New Zealand.

A group of 28 Saudi Arabian students have arrived in New Zealand this week to prepare for Airways’ air traffic controller programme.

The students, from Saudi Arabia’s civil air services provider General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) and Saudi Arabia National Guard, will study English for their first year in New Zealand, and then commence air traffic control training with Airways in the following year. This will be the third group of Saudi Arabian air traffic control students that Airways has trained.

Airways’ Head of Training Sharon Cooke says that Airways has enhanced the English Language requirements of the training programme to assist the students further in their training.

“Following a full year of English study with our training partners, the GACA students will be fluent to at least ICAO Level 4 English Language Proficiency, which is required for on-the-job air traffic control training. This year, we’re also bringing our eight week Aviation English programme into the students’ first year, so that they are fully competent in the language they need to complete their ATC training,” says Ms Cooke.

“Completing all of our English Language requirements upfront will allow the students to maintain a focus on their ATC training in their second year,” she says.

Ms Cooke says that the stringent English standard applied by New Zealand educational institutions is one of the reasons the country is so attractive to the Saudi students and their sponsors.

“We have an excellent reputation for maintaining the highest standards of training, so that the Saudi Arabian government, who sponsors these students, can be sure of their success,” says Ms Cooke.

The students will spend an intensive year with either Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) in Nelson or Kaplan International College in Auckland studying English, before attending Airways’ Palmerston North campus for 12 months of air traffic control training.

Airways used social media to create a learning community with the students before they arrived in New Zealand, with a dedicated Facebook page supporting them on anything from questions about their studies to their homestay environment and the culture in New Zealand.


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