Vocational courses prepare students for take-off in Hong Kong’s aviation industry
Vocational Training Council offers two-year, part-time paid foundation studies while HKU Space Community College has a two-year, full-time higher diploma in industry basics
The Vocational Training Council (VTC) is partnering the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy of the Airport Authority Hong Kong and private companies to launch a part-time diploma programme that is free of charge, offers paid on-the-job training, and provides a government allowance for all participants.
The two-year, part-time course, Diploma of Foundation Studies (Aviation) (DFS-Aviation), is open to applications from all Secondary 6 graduates. Students who apply for the programme through the VTC will be interviewed by prospective industry employers. Accepted candidates will get an apprenticeship in which they receive on-the-job training while they study at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) for one to one and a half days a week.
The curriculum covers introductions to aviation, air cargo handling and technology; airport and airline management structure, and ground service equipment handling and technology.
Tuition fees will be fully funded by the employers, who are also obliged to pay the students HK$30,800 over the course’s two years, while the government will also provide a living allowance of HK$42,000. As the students will receive a guaranteed monthly salary of no less than HK$8,000 throughout the course, each will have a monthly income of more than HK$10,000 during the two years.
“It is a very attractive proposition for young people: they receive technical training, enjoy a stable income, and have a foothold into the aviation industry,” says Iu King-fung, assistant executive director, Headquarters (Industry Partnership) at the VTC. “In fact, the VTC Earn & Learn scheme [was] launched several years ago to integrate classroom learning with paid, on-the-job training. Other industries under the scheme include electrical and mechanical engineering and construction, medical centre operations, and food technology and safety. Many graduates stay in the industry, and some [stick] with the firms where they [did] their apprenticeships.”
Upon their completion of the course, graduates can smoothly enter the aviation industry, and work in various positions such as cargo officer, passenger officer and ramp control officer in airlines and companies specialising in ground operations and air transport.
Graduates may also proceed to study programmes such as the Higher Diploma in Aviation and Higher Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering offered at IVE, and then pursue top-up degree programmes in aviation.
The HKU SPACE Community College is also offering a two-year, full-time higher diploma in aviation studies. Costing
HK$57,000 per year, the course provides a foundation on aviation operations and management knowledge, and covers airline business development and management; airport operations; risk and safety management; air cargo, ground services and flight dispatch.
Students may apply for internship programmes with various local and international companies and organisations including Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy, Jardine Aviation Services, and the Incheon International Airport Corporation. These companies will also participate in major aviation industry events such as the Singapore Airshow, the Zhuhai Airshow, the Apats (Asia-Pacific Airline Training Symposium) Aviation Education and Training Symposium at Incheon and the Junior Airport Management Course at the Incheon Airport Aviation Academy.
Career-seeking graduates currently work for local and overseas aviation organisations as sector business analysts, cadet pilots, flight attendants, flight dispatch officers, flight operations officers, air cargo service officers, ground services and customer services officers.
The programme is also recognised by universities such as the University of New South Wales and Coventry University, where students will be granted credits from their HKU SPACE training when they progress to the institutions’ relevant degree studies. Aviation-minded students in Hong Kong can apply for degree studies with government-funded universities, or apply for full-time degree programmes offered by HKU SPACE International College in collaboration with Melbourne-based Swinburne University of Technology, which lead to a Bachelor of Aviation Management.