Published on May 30th, 2023 | by Alan Dwyer


Tánaiste Launches New University of Limerick-based Irish World Aviation Academy

An Tánaiste Micheál Martin has launched a new Irish World Aviation Academy that is to be based at the University of Limerick and will be a ‘unique asset to aviation’ in Ireland. The Irish World Aviation Academy (IWAA) is a strategic partnership between UL and AirNav Ireland, the new national air navigation service provider established to manage air traffic control in Irish airspace. The two partners will also work with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) on key strategic projects for the Academy. The partnership was launched by the Tánaiste and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers at an event on Monday, in the new Air Traffic Control Tower at Dublin Airport.

Commenting at the launch, An Tánaiste Micheál Martin said, “The University of Limerick has a long, proud, and productive heritage in aviation. This relationship between UL and the aviation sector comes from outstanding cooperation and has given rise to the Irish World Aviation Academy. In the ideal completion of the relationship between education and enterprise, Professor Kerstin Mey closes the circle started by founding UL president Dr. Ed Walsh and today presents the first industry-led Academy of the future of embedded learning at UL. The model is a good one and I know other industries are looking with interest at this collaboration with education as a model for future learning, innovation, and growth. Universities are the birthplace of fresh thinking, innovation, and business development, and our economy needs the ideas for the future that emerge from them. I want to commend UL and AirNav Ireland for having the foresight to develop this Academy and I wish them all the best in the future as it develops.”

UL President Professor Kerstin Mey and AirNav Ireland CEO Dr. Peter Kearney said the Academy would build a new force in aviation focused on innovation, learning, and capitalising on opportunity. Professor Mey said the IWAA was a “world first” in both education and aviation in that this is one of the first times a university and a commercial state company had come together to form a new entity to serve the learning, research, and developmental requirements of the sector. The UL President outlined that the University’s considerable international reach in education and its strong alumnus presence in global aviation sectors, allied with both Air Nav Ireland and IAA’s international profile in both navigation and the commercial sector in which it invests, would make the academy a “huge force” in the future development of the aviation sector.

Professor Mey commented, “This Academy, operated jointly by UL and Air Nav Ireland, will be a flagship for the future of embedded learning in aviation. It will offer executive learning and leadership capability development to senior personnel. It will be a unique asset to the aviation sector in Ireland.”

Professor Mey said the Academy would be based at UL and would also deliver on its educational remit at industry locations worldwide where an outstanding learning experience is delivered through a partnership between key industry professionals, university staff and Air Nav Ireland partnering where relevant with IAA to deliver an “experiential and research-led education”.

And Dr. Peter Kearney added, “This Academy aligns with AirNav Ireland’s priorities to drive continual improvement and excellence through skills and innovation. It will commence the delivery of a global industry-based formation experience directed at executive and aspiring leaders to gain first-hand knowledge of the whole sector from manufacturing through maintenance to leasing, finance, insurance, and sustainability. It will focus too on the career requirements of the Irish aviation sector and on working with industry on key research topics including Sustainable Aviation Fuel and a range of economic performance areas. It will support high-skilled aviation jobs delivering high-quality graduates ready to meet the challenges and opportunities in aviation in the coming years. This academy is a commitment to the future of aviation in Ireland.”

The event heard that the ambition for the Academy is that it would become a standard requisite in senior employment in the aviation sector and deliver “industry-ready” graduates to help maintain Ireland’s competitiveness as a global aviation hub. UL is “exceptionally well placed” to offer a model of embedded learning in partnership with AirNav Ireland.

Professor Mey went on to say, “The inception of this Academy completes the work started with the founding of UL 50 years ago when cooperative education was introduced and placements in the industry were first accredited. It advances that model to an embedded education approach that affirms the partnership role between industry and university in research-led programme design and delivery. There is no better sector in which to launch this concept as Irish aviation, which is itself a model of excellence and innovation. UL is proud to have been part of this success and has built on the rich heritage of Shannon as the place where the Irish aviation story began.”

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