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Industry asked to contribute to pilot training

Thu, 21 Oct 2004

Aviation industry asked to contribute to pilot training

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The government is calling on the aviation industry to contribute more to the cost of pilot training, and to ensure that training is better linked to commercial aviation pilot jobs available in New Zealand.

Associate Education Minister (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey said fees per year for aviation training are far higher than for any other courses, including medicine and dentistry.

"Fees range from $30,000 - $70,000 per year. Students are ending up with huge debts and in past years graduates have had difficulty finding jobs in New Zealand.

"It is a very volatile labour market and trainee numbers have not always been well aligned to demand. In the period up to 2003 there was an oversupply of commercial pilots, while at present there appears to be a shortage.

"That situation isn't good for anyone - we need greater levels of certainty. That's why we are consulting with the aviation sector about a co-funding arrangement. We want to ensure that students receive high quality training that results in

"The first step in our co-funding arrangement is reducing the current aviation funding cap by 10% in 2005 to 700 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Students). Priority will be given to all current aviation training students so that they can complete their qualifications.

"We have also set interim figures for the following two years, at the level necessary to ensure all current students are able to complete their studies, 600 EFTS in 2006 and 500 EFTS in 2007. These volumes are conditional on securing agreement on a co-funding mechanism with industry.

"The government wishes to look at how industry contributions can be used to reduce student fees, which in turn would lead to lower levels of indebtedness. Plus, as industry is predicting greater demand for commercial pilots in the future, trainee volumes could also be increased if industry agrees to co-fund a greater amount.

"I met with industry representatives last night and we have agreed that discussions with aviation industry representatives will begin very shortly, with the aim of formalising co-funding arrangements by the middle of next year."

ENDS


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