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Low Joe Ee

Fighting the Gender Divide
Young female student driven to do better in a male-dominated field
“Frankly, I believe girls are better at a number of tasks in aircraft maintenance,” boldly claims Low Joe Ee (or just plain Joeyto her friends) who is in her final semester of the Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering programme at Nilai University (Nilai U). She finds that the female students in Nilai U’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering department to be far more thorough than their male counterparts. A bold claim, which she backs up with the number of distinctions scored by female students in the Diploma programme over the years. “When it comes to tasks like inspection of wires and electronics systems, I find the girls to be far more thorough than the boys. Also, time management of the maintenance schedule is usually  better from the girls. Of course, the more petite among us find tasks like fuel tank cleaning to be easier compared to the generally bulkier lads.”
 
Joey may be among the minority in her field and she is hoping she can encourage more young girls to consider aircraft maintenance engineering as a career option. She was led down this path by a family friend who happened to be the first Muslim female fighter pilot In the country who convinced Joey that gender was no barrier to success in the aviation industry. She also told of the lucrative salaries that fully-qualified aircraft maintenance engineers command, especially abroad. Naturally, Joe’s online investigation led her to Nilai U as it is a market leader in this field. 
 
Nilai U offers a Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programme whose syllabus prepares students for the all-important European Aviation Safety Agency Category B license examinations. (Note, only a student who has successfully completed all the relevant EASA modules and gained the necessary industry experience can be a certified aircraft maintenance engineer). There is also a pathway for students who have completed the Diploma to gain a BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, UK. This one-year top up programme is known as an Advanced Diploma domestically as legislation states that any one-year post-diploma programme can only be eligible for that qualification. However, Kingston University recognises that Nilai U’s Diploma programme is equivalent to the first two years of its degree programme and thus only a further year’s study allows students to gain an internationally-recognised Degree. 
 
Having completed the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programme, Joey decided that a degree would help her move up the career ladder faster. “During my On-the Job-Training (six month internship which is in-built into the Diploma programme) at Air AsiaX, I noticed quite a number of items that were beyond my comprehension. Having studied for the degree programme, I now better understand most topics and it has shed light on those mystery items at Air AsiaX,” she explains. “Furthermore, I believe that in this day and age, paper qualification is all-important. Yes, the EASA license is important but I believe having a degree will help separate me from the crowd.” She also hopes to complete the remaining six EASA modules whilst studying for the degree. “When I eventually start job hunting, I intend to be the most qualified candidate,” she declares. “I also believe having a BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, UK, will help me later on when trying to secure a lucrative job abroad.”
 
The demure and petite student who hails from Puchong, Selangor is at pains to stress to female school leavers that they are not at a disadvantage in this field due to their gender. “The need for physical strength in this line is greatly exaggerated. More important is a person’s ability to focus, be absolutely though in whatever task they do on the maintenance schedule and to be able to think on their feet,” she says. The key difference between the diploma and degree is that the latter is purely theoretical and delves deeper into each subject, forcing students to think and analyse problems to find solutions rather than merely regurgitate facts and figures. “I want to be more than just a technician and the degree is my passport to a successful career in this exciting field.”
 
Nilai U was extablished in 1997 and all of its programmes are approved by the Ministry of Education. It is also ranled ‘Setara 5 / Excellent’ by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency. For more information, please go to www.nilai.edu.my or call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336.
 
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