Engineers look to jobs fair - and a jet engine - to drive on aviation industry

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 3:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 3:23am

The city's undermanned aviation industry hopes to attract new talent at an upcoming public fair, as well as introducing young people to the professional accreditation recently established for aircraft engineering.

A five-tonne Rolls Royce Trent 500 engine that once powered an Airbus A340 will go on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai this weekend as part of the Discover Aviation Careers 2014 fair.

The Western Harbour Tunnel will be closed to all other traffic for 30 minutes from 4am Friday, as the HK$100-million engine is transported through on its way to the convention centre.

Some 16 participating businesses - including Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company and Hong Kong Airlines - will be looking to hire new recruits at the fair.

While the generally low unemployment rate in recent years and competition from other industries have contributed to the aviation sector's manpower shortfall, leading aircraft-engineering companies also blame low public awareness of the potential careers the industry offers.

"That's why we are providing more information on the industry, in a way that is more engaging to young people, as well as their parents," said Warren Chim Wing-nin, honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers' aircraft division.

"Once the general public is aware of the industry and its career prospects, more will consider a career in aviation," Chim said.

Since 2009, aircraft engineering has been recognised by the institution as a professional discipline, and it offers graduates and high-diploma earners in the field engineer accreditation.

Dennis Hui King-wai, general manager for quality at the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company which has trained many of the city's homegrown aircraft engineers, said the company would aim to hire 550 staff this year.

He added that the industry provides both engineering and non-engineering jobs, ranging from aircraft engineering and catering to executive-jet management, and is looking for people of all ages and academic qualifications.

Richard Kendall, general manager of Hong Kong Aero Engine Services (HAESL), said the company would aim to hire two to five graduates as trainees each year in order to provide a fast track to attaining the aircraft engineer qualification in four years, compared to the six years it usually takes.

Karina Mak Ka-wun, who joined HAESL in 2006 as a trainee, said she was looking forward to joining a team that has been working on the US$110- million Airbus A350 engine for the last three years.