New fast-track to professional Engineering degree for ex-pilots, technicians

05 May 2020

The University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering is offering a new opportunity that fast-tracks entry into a professional engineering degree, especially tailored for technically skilled workers whose jobs may have been impacted by the pandemic.

  • Shayne Gooch

    “I could see an opportunity like this would help others in similar situations and allow them to take a positive step towards their next career,” says Associate Professor Shayne Gooch, who was in a similar situation in the early 1990s when he decided to retrain and studied Engineering at UC.

The University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering is offering a new opportunity that fast-tracks entry into a professional engineering degree, especially tailored for technically skilled workers whose jobs may have been impacted by the pandemic. 

The fast-track course is designed for pilots, air traffic controllers, technician-level engineers, and other people with strong technical backgrounds and interests, who have at least three years of work experience and are looking to make a career change. 

“We have developed pathways that allow students who have the technical skills and have been in the workforce to transition into the second year of our Bachelor of Engineering with Honours degree in 2021,” College of Engineering Dean (Academic) Associate Professor Shayne Gooch says.

The idea for a fast-track pathway came about after a pilot, whose job had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, approached UC about studying engineering.

“I could see an opportunity like this would help others in similar situations and allow them to take a positive step towards their next career,” says Associate Professor Gooch, who was in a similar situation in the early 1990s when he decided to retrain and studied Engineering at UC.

“People who have worked in an industry and return to university to retrain are typically great students, and they go on to make valuable employees as they often know the business from one end to the other. They have an understanding of both the practical and theoretical side of things,” he says.

The course has been designed specifically to ensure students are up to speed in their maths and are on track to succeed when they go into their second year in 2021. Associate Professor Gooch worked closely with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Engineering, Professor Jan Evans-Freeman, colleagues in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, including Head of School Professor Clemency Montelle and Lecturer Phillipa Gourdie, and others in UC’s College of Engineering, to develop the programme in a short timeframe.

“My colleague Professor Philippa Martin [College of Engineering Dean (First Year)] has established a peer-mentoring group, Eng ME!, which will support students on the fast-track course. This cohort will be highly valued members of the student community who will have a positive influence on our other students,” Associate Professor Gooch says.

The full-time study pathway starts on 11 May with Introductory Maths online, and in Semester 2 students can choose courses that lead into their chosen Engineering specialty programme. There are nine disciplines or specialist subjects to choose from in the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours: Chemical and Process Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Forest Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Natural Resources Engineering, and Software Engineering.

There is still time to enrol in the Fast Track pathway, more information is available here.

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