TAFE NSW Riverina Institute has welcomed Airservices trainees to a new course designed to give them the skills to maintain Australia's high-tech air traffic control equipment.
The first intake of 18 trainees will complete two-year Diploma of Electrical Engineering leading to careers as technical engineers with the nations air navigation service provider. The course was designed by specialist Riverina Institute trainers and is being delivered at the Wagga Wagga Campus. Airservices has provided $2.8m to establish the trade-specific curriculum and training facility. Airservices CEO Greg Russell said the funding represented a significant commitment to regional skills development and ensuring the future of Australias air navigation system. "Over the next five years we are expecting up to one-third of our current technical maintenance staff to retire. This partnership with TAFE, the Regional Development Board and the Wagga Wagga City Council ensures we can meet that challenge and provide regional training opportunities at the same time," Mr Russell said. He said trainees would gain work experience with Airservices throughout their course. "They will learn about communications, surveillance, navigation aids and data systems and how to maintain the worlds best aviation equipment." Head Teacher of Electro-technology at Riverina Institute, John Bond said the students would also develop a strong grounding in electro-technology theory and practice. "Weve customised it to ensure they have underpinning knowledge and industry standard practical skills that they can apply to a range of settings, including the situations theyll experience during their work with Airservices Australia," Mr Bond said. The first intake of students was selected from more than 100 applicants nationally. Saurabh Jhorar of Armidale said he was looking forward to the challenge. "There is a lot of information to take in, especially when we start to move from the basics to the really high-tech equipment but its a great opportunity to learn while we work and all of the training costs are covered by Airservices," Mr Jhorar said. The course includes a trade-specific curriculum developed to ensure students receive practical training on Airservices maintained equipment, including the instrument landing systems, radars and other navigation aids. Two highly-experienced instructors from Airservices will partner with Riverina Institute teachers to help the trainees master the technology. Airservices expects to provide opportunities for between 18 and 36 trainees a year for the next five years. "Our goal is to ensure Airservices has the highly skilled staff essential to the future implementation and maintenance of aviation technology," Mr Russell said.