A new university-industry collaboration means aviation engineering students in Kaunas will be offered exclusive opportunities to gain practical experience and skills during their studies. The Avia Prakitka programme, organised by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and a number of key companies in the aviation sector, will enable students to gain up to four years of practical experience by the time they graduate. It will also make their studies compliant with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requirements, a key criteria for gaining the internationally-recognised EASA licence.
With knowledge of basic and linear technical maintenance, and engineering maintenance and planning, all gained through the new programme, the aviation specialists graduating from KTU will find it much easier to enter and rise up through Lithuania’s growing talent pool in this sector. A number of well-known companies in the aviation industry have already agreed to take part in the programme, including Helisota, Termikas, DOT LT, Sportinė aviacija ir Ko, Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Services and FL Technics.
The Avia Praktika programme will provide students on the four-year Aviation Engineering bachelors programme with a range of new study options for two semesters of their degree. They will be able to deepen their knowledge in chosen specialist fields, select other minor studies programmes, go abroad on exchange programmes, or select a practical placement within an aviation company. And according to the current schedule, students will be developing their practical skills at aircraft repair companies during the autumn and spring semesters.
As Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Vice-Rector for Studies at KTU, explains, the programme will provide KTU students with the competencies they need to find attractive positions in the aviation sector. “During their studies the students will be able to acquire much more practical experience, learn more and perform tasks that address real problems,” she points out. “The essence of the Avia Praktika programme is that by the time they graduate, the students will have acquired up to four years of practical experience and skills, which are vitally important for aviation engineering graduates.”
Companies from Lithuania’s rapidly developing aviation sector were instrumental in getting the Avia Praktika programme up and running. According to Karolis Čepukas, head of Ryanair’s technical division at Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Services, skilled graduates with practical experience are the future life blood of the industry. The opportunity to deepen their knowledge by providing them with advanced skills and practical know how is a significant step towards growing the sector to international-level standard.
This sentiment was echoed by Laimonas Latvėnas, Technical Director of DOT LT, at the event held to mark the signing of the cooperation agreement. “The competences of aviation companies in Lithuania are growing in line with the increasing number of jobs,” he explained. “Therefore, every year we need more and more personnel with excellent knowledge of their work. Students with a solid knowledge base and a diploma certifying their accomplishments are always welcome and are highly appreciated.”
And according to Vaclovas Kliunka, head of the Training Department at Helisota, should the Avia Praktika model prove successful, the aviation engineering sector in Lithuania could undergo a rapid period of growth, developing into a strong player on the international market. Mr Kliunka highlighted the fact that, thanks to new programme, KTU students will not only be able to complete their practical training at aviation entities, but will also secure better jobs in the future.
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