Te ahumairangi | Aerospace

Please also refer to the 2022 Regional workforce plan, specifically the section on Aviation.

Ahumairangi | Aviation

Aircraft, both fixed wing and helicopters, play essential roles in the primary sector, support infrastructure development and maintenance, search and rescue, hospital transfers, freight, transport, tourism, and leisure.

Aotearoa New Zealand is estimated to have the highest number of aircraft per capita in the world and safe aviation requires aircraft maintenance. There is a national and international shortage of aeronautical engineers, and Boeing estimate that they will need an additional 10,000 technicians between 2022 and 2041 in the Oceania region alone [2].

There are 2 distinct aerospace hubs in Marlborough:

  • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, and aerodrome and aviation related businesses.
  • Woodbourne Airbase area with the New Zealand Defence Force, Marlborough Airport, Te Pūkenga training facility, Airbus, and airline bases.

Marlborough offers the only aeronautical engineering course in the country in a partnership between NMIT | Te Pūkenga and New Zealand Defence Force. However, the training facility is at capacity and air force base security requirements limit who can enrol, precluding international students and people with criminal convictions.

Marlborough is an ideal location for emerging low/no emission aircraft, with short haul flights between:

  • Blenheim
  • Wellington
  • Picton
  • Nelson
  • Kāpiti Coast.

Regional airline, Sounds Air, expects to be flying passengers across Cook Strait in electric planes by 2026 [3].

Our recommendations for Aerospace education and training in Marlborough

  • Maintain existing courses and broaden provision to encompass emerging technologies. The existing skill base needs to be maintained because older aircraft are still flying. There is also a need to develop new skill sets for emerging technologies.
  • Invest in a mixture of work-based and campus-based learning provision to provide flexibility for both learners and employers. Some industry representatives and employers favour more work-based learning, supplemented with block courses, to bridge existing shortages. Others support the current model where NMIT | Te Pūkenga graduates can add value from day one because they are learning industry relevant skills.
  • Invest in changing skill requirements in the sector with a growing aerospace sector and increasing numbers of low/no-emission aircraft. The vocational education system will need to move at pace to keep up with changes in technology and regulations.
  • Increase investment in entry-level courses that create a pathway into the sector to help grow learner numbers, such as a level 3 pre-trade course and a level 2 feeder course.
  • Support investment in a multi-trade facility that would provide synergies with aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, and construction trades. The NMIT |Te Pūkenga campus in Budge Street, Blenheim, provides a potential location. This would also assist with increasing learner numbers in entry-level aeronautical engineering programmes.
Last updated: 20 June 2023