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Aviation's right stuff - the race begins


In Blenheim last weekend, some of New Zealand’s best young aircraft maintenance engineers from around the country battled it out to win a place in the national finals of the WorldSkills Aircraft Maintenance competition, to be held in Hamilton in late September 2016, the winner of which will take on the rest of the world at the WorldSkills international competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

WorldSkills NZ Aircraft Maintenance Skill Manager and Contest Organiser Mike Naus, was extremely pleased with the level of participation from the wider aviation maintenance industry. Contestants at last Saturday’s event included young qualified and apprentice engineers from Air New Zealand, Air Nelson, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Hawker Pacific, and Oceania Helicopters.

He says the overwhelming response proves the importance of holding a pre-selection heat and gives  as many talented young aviation engineers as possible the unique chance to compete with the world’s best.  

“It’s gratifying to have so many high calibre competitors,” says Mike. “It’s a tough competition and the standard of work clearly demonstrates Kiwis’ high level of performance in this specialist field.”  

Racing against the clock, the competition involves engineers dismantling and replacing engine components, an aircraft daily inspection, and the construction of an aircraft skin repair.

“Last weekend’s competitors are already talking with their employers to work out ways to improve their performances. This translates to higher skilled tradespeople in our workplaces and improved productivity and safety for our industry,” says Mike.

New Zealand already has a strong record in this exciting event that recognises the highly technical and complex repertoire of skills needed for a safe aviation industry: in 2013, Mike West (RNZAF) who trained at Woodbourne, came second in the world when New Zealand debuted in this demanding category at the WorldSkills Leipzig, Germany; while in 2015, Kiwi aviation engineer Chris Robertson (RNZAF) was placed sixth in the world in an extremely close-fought competition at WorldSkills Sao Paulo. Chris was also awarded a medallion of excellence at the world championships.

Former WorldSkills champion Chris Robertson

Former NZ WorldSkills international competitor Chris Robertson brings his competitor experience to a role as Judge for the National Selection competition.

ServiceIQ is a proud sponsor of the WorldSkills competitions which recognise the first-class skills of aviation and hospitality apprentices, among others, from all over the country.