Published on March 27th, 2019 | by FII Reader


Midland Aviation apprentice wins Ireland Skills Live aircraft maintenance competition

The Irish National Skills Live finals were held in the RDS last week. This was the first time the finals were held as part of a full exhibition. The competitors spread across 25 categories including aircraft maintenance, welding, hairdressing, and cooking.

Apprentice aircraft engineers competed in 6 modules, over a total time of 18 hours. The apprentices had to demonstrate their skills in aircraft sheet metal repair, engine borescope inspection, electrical wiring, component removal & installation, and A320 virtual maintenance.

The Irish Air Corps were represented at the event

Of the 6 finalists, Eric Noonan (Midland Aviation) was announced as the overall winner of the Aircraft Maintenance section at the awards ceremony in the RDS. Noonan is a third-year apprentice from one of Ireland’s Part M Subpart F maintenance organisations, or General Aviation maintenance organisation, based in Abbeyshrule Aerodrome. The other finalists were Cian Warren (Stobart Aviation), Luke O’Connell (Atlantic Aviation Group), Gerard Lernihan (Atlantic Aviation Group), Darren McGrath (Dublin Aerospace), and Cormac Thompson (Aer Lingus).

The winner of this year’s competition and the winner of last year’s competition are eligible for selection to represent Ireland at the 45th World Skills competition which will be held in Kazan, Russia in August 2019.

Thousands of second level students, their parents, and teachers attended the event, which aimed to promote apprenticeships and traineeships that offer recognised qualifications upon completion. Dublin Aerospace, Stobart, Irish Air Corps, and Lufthansa Technik, amongst others, were in attendance to answer questions regarding apprenticeships and traineeships in aircraft maintenance. The Irish Aviation Authority were also on hand to provide information regarding aircraft maintenance qualifications, aircraft maintenance training organisations, maintenance licensing and career options in aircraft maintenance, continuing airworthiness, and aircraft engineering and design.

By 2026, ICAO estimate a worldwide need for 480,000 new technicians to maintain 25,000 new aircraft

The worldwide skills shortage in aircraft maintenance has been highlighted by ICAO and others for many years. Ireland Skills Live tried to tackle head-on the negative perceptions students, their parents and, in some cases, their teachers and career advisors have about apprenticeships or skills as a future career pathway. Aviation organisations are competing to encourage high-calibre students to consider aircraft maintenance as a career. The aircraft maintenance licensing system requires a high level of knowledge, coupled with excellent skills and the appropriate attitude. It is hoped that events such as Ireland Skills Live will encourage students to consider a career in aircraft maintenance.

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