A group of air traffic control students from Saudi Arabia National Guard has graduated at Airways’ world-leading training academy in New Zealand, marking the completion of a successful two-year investment by Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education.
The Saudi Arabian students graduated at a ceremony held recently at Airways’ purpose-built ATC training academy in Palmerston North.
Airways Head of Training Sharon Cooke says the National Guard recruits are the third group from Saudi Arabia to successfully complete this programme. Airways’ strong relationship with Saudi Arabia means future Saudi air traffic controllers have access to world-class ATC training.
“This partnership brings students to New Zealand each year, on scholarships fully funded by the Saudi Arabian government. The students spend one year in Auckland studying English, and one year living in Palmerston North and studying at our ATC training college,” Ms Cooke says.
“Following their graduation the students have now returned to Saudi Arabia, ready to begin on-the-job training at the National Guard military airfields. They have excelled in their studies and passed every course,” she added.
Spending two years living in New Zealand has provided the students with considerable insight into New Zealand’s culture and way of life. Abdulaziz Alshehri, one of the Saudi Arabians to graduate on Thursday, said that he’d thoroughly enjoyed learning more about New Zealand.
“We had two really great years in New Zealand and I am grateful for the opportunity to study here that was given to us. Our ATC course at Airways was fast-paced and challenging but I really think that we had the best training experience possible,” says Abdulaziz.
“Our team of instructors supported us throughout and it was great to see how quickly we improved and how our confidence increased. Although we are now looking forward to meeting our families in Saudi Arabia, we will really miss New Zealand and all the friends we made here. I hope that one day, I will be able to return and show my family how beautiful this place is.”