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Our News

15 August 2012

ICAT Aerospace distance learners graduate with flying colours

A group of seven students from across England and Wales have graduated from Cardiff and Vale College’s International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT) after completing a distance learning degree course in aircraft maintenance engineering.

The students graduated from the Distance Learning BSc (Hons) and B Licence course, which is run in collaboration with the University of Glamorgan. Impressively, six of the seven graduated with First Class honours.

The course enables mechanics and technicians working within the aerospace industry to gain the extra academic qualifications necessary to become Aircraft Maintenance Licence (AML) holders while also studying towards an engineering degree.  It also allows those already holding a full Part 66 AML to ‘Top-Up’ to the degree.

The course has been designed to be flexible and is in four separate stages (three for the Top-Up). The Part-66 Licence element – an essential and highly regarded Europe-wide qualification for aircraft maintenance that is recognised across the world – is studied during the first three stages. Students can study at home in their spare time and plan around their work schedules.

Study involves flexible textbook and online learning, and each student is allocated an ICAT course tutor as a dedicated point of contact and support. CAVC is the only Further Education College in Wales to have gained approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a Part 147 Aircraft Maintenance Training Organisation.

ICAT E-learning Co-ordinator Jason Blackwell said: “All of the students have done extremely well and are a credit to the College and to themselves. It’s a course that requires a lot of hard work and, at times, a degree of sacrifice and they have done an excellent job. They should be very proud of their achievement”.

Munthir Al Alawi is 27 and from Doncaster. He has always been fascinated by aircraft and achieved his three EASA Part 66 licenses.

“However it did not fulfil my passion and I felt there was a big gap between vocational qualifications and academic qualifications,” Munthir said. “I was insistent – I had to complete my BSc in Aircraft

Maintenance Engineering so that I could feel personally satisfied with my achievements.

After long research for different Degree programs offered in the UK, especially for EASA 66 License holders, I found that ICAT had the best ever option for me to further my study. The
curriculum is very well structured and I can say it was the best between all other universities especially for a full time engineer to progress in his career with huge margin of study flexibility.”

Munthir was impressed by the level of support he received. “To be honest, I wondered how they had the time for each single student,” he said. “Seriously speaking, they gave me individual attention for each question or query. They always gave me answers and exercises in individual topics so I could make the most out of my education while with them.” Long distance learning was tough at first but Munthir soon found a balance.

“Sometimes when you start, you reach a limit where you cannot handle all your commitments as family, work, friends, education, business and day to do matters,” he explained. “But with
a bit of time management you can do it all especially with this well structured part-time program. It gives you all the flexibility you need and at the end of the day the opportunity as a full time employee to earn a degree through part-time studies.”

He is now looking to study for an MSc, and is looking for the right university and programme.

John Nettleton, 47 and from King’s Lynn in Norfolk, chose aircraft engineering as a profession when he joined the RAF in 1983, and stayed in the sector after he left in 2008.

“I chose ICAT because it was the only college that was offering long distance learning courses,” John said. “I was very impressed with all the staff and the course that was offered.

“Distance learning gave me the chance to work full time and study, but it can be a double-edged sword at times! In the future I plan to pursue a quality or safety management position within the aviation industry.”