Tyler Nelson is an Aircraft Engineer with our Aircraft Maintenance in Auckland and shares her journey so far.
I started off the way engineers often do, as a young child fascinated by aircraft. My dad had been an engineer with the South African Air Force and his work stories inspired me and gave me a clear feeling that was what I wanted to do too. Keep in mind, I was around the age of nine and the only experience I had with aircraft was flying between Johannesburg and Durbin to visit my grandmother.
Fast forward 14 years and today I’m an aircraft engineer specialising in hangar maintenance. My journey hasn’t been without its challenges, but with perseverance and a good support structure in place, I made it.
My career started off in Year 12 when I took part in Air New Zealand’s Gateway Programme (now the Aircraft Maintenance Work Experience Programme) which provides high senior students with an opportunity to ‘get under the wing’ and meet members of the engineering team. From there I was hooked and at the end of that year I applied to complete the pre-employment course for the Air New Zealand apprenticeship via the Aviation Institute. Following 39 weeks of hard work I successfully applied for the apprenticeship. This was it; I was just a few short steps from following my dream.
The traineeship is a five year programme, covering a range of work environments from hangar and line maintenance work through to side shops like composites and paint. There are also numerous unit standards to complete. The variety allows you the opportunity to discover exactly what type of engineer you want to be.
Following on from my apprenticeship, I became a permanent employee of Air New Zealand in hangar maintenance. It was a lot of hard work to get here, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The teams I have worked in have all welcomed me onto each shift and made me feel included. Every day I learn something new and my team leader is always giving me welcome challenges.
My role gives me so many opportunities, whether it’s a step up in the current career path like getting an aircraft rating or taking on an entirely new path such as a planning engineer. The sky is truly the limit!