UniKL-MIAT's Subang Campus Goes Live
INDUSTRY-READY... Finalists of the World Skills Malaysia competition held at UniKL-MIAT in Dengkil in June show they are ready for the industryPic: Muhammad Zaini
By Salbiah Said
This is the last of a three-part article on UniKL-MIAT's Subang Campus, which is set to train students in live aircraft maintenance.
SEPANG (Bernama) -- All eyes will be on Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL-MIAT)'s Subang campus, which is set to produce a new generation of graduates trained in live aircraft maintenance.
The campus, the second for UniKL-MIAT, will be set up as part of plans by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to construct the Asia Aerospace City (AAC) in Subang in a bid to develop Malaysia's aerospace industry.
The present campus in Jenderam Hulu in Dengkil, a small yet well developed town in the Sepang district, provides aviation maintenance training on simulated aircraft.
It has a huge 3-section hangar that houses small aircraft, from Cessna 150 to private jet HS 125 and also large airplanes Boeing 727 and Boeing 737 for training.
"At the Subang campus, final year aviation maintenance students will be working with aircraft that is still in service", UniKL-MIAT Dean, Dr Mohd Idrus Abd Moin told Bernama.
TEACHING FACTORY CONCEPT
"We are already taking in students for the four-year degree programme in aviation maintenance. Those in the final year will be working in a real environment, with real industry challenges", said Mohd Idrus.
UniKL-MIAT, he said, is a technical university based on the teaching factory concept. Its hands-on training modules differentiate the university from others.
"We are the only university with hybrid programmes, both diploma and degree, which prepare students for their licence. But not everyone will go for the licence. Some prefer to work in the oil and gas (O&G) industry.
"The industry will readily take them in as our aviation maintenance students work on turbine engines, which are applicable to both aviation and O&G. Safety consciousness is high on our training schedule", he added.
UniKL MIAT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MARA, is the first Maintenance Training Organisation (MTO) approved by the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) to offer aircraft maintenance technology programmes.
FIRST MTO APPROVED BY DCA
The MTO approval means that UniKL-MIAT only produces students who have achieved the highest aviation standard. It took five years and 18 audits for the DCA to grant the university its MTO certificate in 2008.
"Operating airlines can send their aircraft for maintenance at our Subang campus. Actual maintenance work will be carried out at two hangars in the campus", said Mohd Idrus.
He noted that these students will not be working on the aircraft alone. Their instructors will be there to supervise their operation.
To qualify for a licence, these students will have to work under a live environment for two years. Their work schedule must be validated and assessed.
Facilities such as the two hangars are developed under phase A of the development of the Subang campus.
COLLABORATION WITH OEMS
In phase B, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Airbus, Safran and Boeing will be invited to participate in programmes conducted by the university.
"The industry will benefit from research from the university. Collaboration with the industry provides opportunities for our students to do research as well as working together with the industry based on the factory concept", he said.
Director-General of the Skills Development Department of the Human Resources Ministry Datuk Pang Chau Leong said the global trends were now moving toward vocational training and technical education.
"Training is not just only in the classroom, but also at the workplace. It is an industry-based training driven concept, where there is partnership between the university and the industry.
"It is a well-tested dual training system to produce highly skilled graduates. Students work in actual plants, as practised in Germany, Austria and Switzerland", said Pang.
Mohd Idrus said the collaboration between the industry and the university would be a win-win situation, whereby the students were assured of job opportunities while the industry gained in terms of academic research.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said at the launch of Menara MARA in March, the AAC would be MARA's first project under its Edubizpark concept aimed at increasing business opportunities for Bumiputeras.
The aerospace industry is expected to create 10,000 engineering positions valued at RM1.5 billion in engineering services, including maintenance, repairs and overhaul and others.
The government has also agreed to provide RM250 million for MARA to develop the Subang campus, said Shafie.
Under the Economic Transformation Programme, the aerospace industry is expected to be valued at US$1 trillion by 2020.
ATKINS AS MASTER PLANNER
MARA's investment and asset management company, Pelaburan MARA Bhd, has enlisted the services of UK's Atkins Global to develop the AAC into a world-class facility to churn out industry-ready human capital.
Atkins Global will act as the lead consultant and master planner of the project, which is estimated to have a gross development value of RM2 billion. Pelaburan MARA will take a lead role as the master developer.
Meanwhile, Atkins said last month, it has completed the concept design and masterplan for the AAC. The designs show a fully-pedestrianised campus with key connections provided by a planned light railway station within walking distance and a flow of electric buses.
"Inspiration for the 328,000 sqm AAC design came from the wings of an aeroplane. With interaction between students and engineers identified by MARA as a key objective, the buildings are arranged to create nodes for various types of activities", it says on its website.
The development comprises an academic cluster which includes the UniKL-MIAT campus and a professional development centre for about 2,000 students; and a research and training centre supporting aerospace testing and validation activities.
Others include a central cluster that caters for professional event functions and contains a convention centre and a business hotel; and restaurant, cafe and sports facilities, which will extend social interaction for resident engineers, students and visitors.
At UniKL-MIAT campus in Jenderam Hulu here, visitors will get to see several aircraft, both in and outside the hangar.
In what looks like a military base, the campus has under its wings, small aircraft in the likes of Cessna to large planes such as Boeing 727 and Boeing 737, that previously belonged to Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
UniKL-MIAT's Head of Mechanical Section, Rashidi Rahim said, the university now owns a stable of aircraft for training - from twin-engine mid-sized corporate jet Hawker Siddeley HS125-400B to Cessna 150, a two-seat tricycle gear general aviation airplane.
Others in the Cessna family are the Cessna 182, a four-seat, single-engine light aircraft; the Cessna 310, a six-seat, low-wing, twin-engine monoplane and the Cessna 206, a single-engine generation aviation aircraft.
The Royal Malaysian Police Air Wing donated the Cessna 206 to UniKL-MIAT for training, while the HS125 and the A4 Skyhawk were contributed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force, he told Bernama via e-mail.
The rest are the Piper PA-23, a four-to-six-seat twin-engine light aircraft; the Beechcraft DUKE 60, a twin-engine fixed-wing aircraft. Two engines are used for training - light aircraft Continental IO-470 engine mock up (piston) and Allison 250 engine mock up (turbine).
"Those outside the hangar are used for sheet metal work apart for display. Most of the aircraft, except for Cessna 206, have been there for as long as 12 years", he said.
With a steady fleet of training aircraft here and boosted by the Subang campus, UniKL-MIAT is ready to meet the demand and the challenges of the aviation industry.