SUSS, SIA launch aviation courses for undergrads, pilots

SINGAPORE – To strengthen the Republic’s aviation sector and retain pilots, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and the Singapore Flying College (SFC) launched a master’s degree programme for Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilots on Tuesday.

The Master of Management programme will cover modules related to impactful leadership, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility, and leading through digital disruption.

The course will be made available to all SIA Group employees at a later stage.

Meanwhile, a minor in aviation management course was also launched on Tuesday for undergraduates at SUSS.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, SFC chairman Quay Chew Eng said: “With the launch of these two programmes, we take another step in the journey to support and promote lifelong learning in the aviation sector. This will help us to attract and retain the next generation of pilots and leaders (and) entrench Singapore’s position as a global hub and support its future growth.”

Participants will learn from aviation case studies and hear from guest speakers within the industry.

The course can be completed in a year, 18 months or even up to four years. Some of its modules can also be taken by SIA pilots overseas.

Captain Darren Lim, a 43-year-old SIA pilot, has been taking modules during the programme’s soft launch in January while flying for the national carrier.

Capt Lim, who has 18 years of flying experience, said he finds the modules interesting, particularly those on sustainability and leadership.

He said: “I’ve been getting to know more about management (and have been) learning new and different management concepts and understanding how they can be put into practice.”

Transport Minister S. Iswaran told Parliament earlier in March that the aviation sector has made a strong recovery from the debilitating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aviation workforce – currently at 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels – is also expected to recover fully by 2023, he said.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has predicted that by 2026, the world will require 25,000 new aircraft in addition to the existing 17,000 worldwide, and 480,000 technicians and 350,000 pilots to operate them. Of these, 243,000 technicians and 185,000 pilots are expected to come from the Asia-Pacific.

To further boost the aviation industry, SUSS’ minor in aviation management course will be open to undergraduates in any of its programmes with a minor option.

It is the only course to include unmanned aircraft theory and practice. Those who complete the modules on unmanned aircraft operations can apply to get an Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Licence.

Minister of Education Chan Chun Sing, who was a guest of honour the course’s launch, tried his hand at a virtual reality (VR) demonstration of flying an unmanned aircraft, or drone.

Applications for the minor programme are open for up to 50 undergraduates for the July semester.

The course will cover supply and demand in the aviation supply chain, airport operations, airline business models, modelling applications and aviation performance measures, among other topics.

The aim is to provide career paths for students in airport ground handling, airport management, airline ground operations, airline flight operations and airline commercial management.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Tan Tai Yong, the president of SUSS, said: “These programmes will equip Singapore with a pool of skilled professionals with in-depth knowledge and recognised skills sought after by aviation employers.”

Prof Tan added: “Our partnership with SFC is an excellent example that academia and industry can co-develop programs with good outcomes.”

The launch was held at SUSS and attended by more than 60 academic, corporate, community and government leaders.

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