The college hosted a delegation from the Jiangsu Transport Technician’s College, located near Shanghai, who were interested in having a first-hand look at the AME program to see if a similar program could be developed at their school.

“We’ve been speaking with them about our aircraft maintenance and engineering program,” said Shelly Nickel, coordinator of international education for Northern Lights College. “Ultimately they are interested in setting up a program in China at their college, but first of all they sent a delegation here to see how we are doing it here at Northern Lights College.”

“They are very interested in the Transport Canada standards,” she added. “We have very high standards in aircraft maintenance engineering here in Canada, and that’s what they want to implement.”

The delegation was guided around the aerospace centre by program chair John Morrison. Wang Zong Rong, president of the Jiangsu Transport Technician’s College, said he was impressed by what he had seen of the program so far.

“The AME of Northern Lights College is a strong program, and we hope to find a good partner in Canada to help develop our program in China,” he said through translator Jacky Xu.

He said his college has offered aviation technology programs since 1978, but the effort to develop an AME program started last year. He added most of the students at the college go on to find jobs in commercial aviation in China and abroad.

Morrison explained to the delegation that the 15-month-long AME program is broken down into 45 per cent theory study and 55 per cent practical application of that theory. He said students who successfully complete the program earn a certificate that completes the training component and provides 1.5 years of the experience component towards obtaining a Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Licence.

The delegation also got to meet with current students in the program, including Chan Chi Kuan, an international student from Macau, China, who has been enrolled in the AME program for about a month.

“It has quite difficult for me because English is not my first language, but so far the program is fun,” he said.

He added he has been doing a lot of reading at home to make up for that challenge, and his classmates have also been very helpful.

Chan said if finishes the program, he is not quite sure yet whether he would return to China to pursue a career or stay in Canada to look for work here.

“It depends on the job I can get either in my country or here,” he said.   

Morrison said students graduating from the program have been very successful at finding jobs in the industry, as the program boasts a placement rate of over 90 per cent.