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Ng Wai Pan

Holding On to Your Dream
Student’s determination to earn degree despite poor UEC results sees him graduate with a BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, UK
Ng Wai Pan (Owen to his friends) admits his UEC results were far from satisfactory. His dream of becoming a pilot was in tatters as he had not scored very well and even failed all his science subjects. But his parents told him to not give up and to look for suitable higher education alternatives. His love for all manner of flying craft led him to Nilai University (Nilai U) which offers the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.
“I was very attracted by this programme as it deals with planes. But at the same time I was worried my poor academic results meant I was not suited for an engineering course,” he admits candidly. Worse, his UEC results precluded him from enrolling in the Diploma programme which required a minimum of three ‘B’s in UEC or three SPM credits. Luckily for Owen, Nilai U then offered a host of certificate programmes which was the doorway into the Diploma course. He enrolled in the one-year Certificate in Industrial Manufacturing and Maintenance programme and quickly set about avoiding repeating the mistakes of his UEC. “I certainly went about my studies with greater urgency. I studied diligently and ensured I worked extra hard in all my weak areas,” he outlines. “I knew I have been given a second chance to get a higher education and I was not going to throw it away.”
The determined young man sailed through his certificate programme and did reasonably well in his Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programme, securing a CGPA of 3. He also has finished seven of the 13 European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) B1-1 examination modules. One of the reasons of the popularity of Nilai U’s Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programme is that its syllabus prepares students for the all-important EASA exams. It is these exams which will allow students to eventually become fully-certified aircraft maintenance engineers who are allowed to sign off on an aircraft’s airworthiness.
However, during his On-Job-Training (OJT), Owen noticed that the majority of field technicians only had a diploma or the EASA qualifications. The top management positions were held by the select few who had degrees in related fields. “I noted that those in areas such as Quality Assurance all had degrees. It rammed home the importance of having higher qualifications,” he says. He then made up his mind to take up the one-year top up degree option at Nilai U. This was despite the fact that the majority of people he had spoken to in the industry said that EASA qualifications were the be all, end all in this field. “I know that the EASA qualifications and gathering the relevant work experience is what you need to become an aircraft maintenance engineer. However, there will come a time when the market will be saturated and employers will look for distinguishing factors. He also says that having a degree allows him the option of moving into other fields such as Oil and Gas, or even academia later on.
Owen’s parents also encouraged him to pursue a degree. His father noting that the top up option being offered at Nilai U only requires a year’s further study and that the cost was extremely affordable, as compared to doing a similar degree abroad. “Doing this degree is for my long term career objectives. I want to go far in my professional life and I believe that having a degree is a prerequisite to climbing the career ladder,” he states. “Also, I still harbour hopes of one day fulfilling my dream to become a pilot and many, if not most, airlines and flight companies require cadet pilots to have a degree as a minimum requirement.”
Owen admits that the BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering programme was more difficult than he expected. “During my time, the diploma was more rote learning and hands on experience. In the degree, there were a lot more essays, group and individual projects as well as learning to think outside the box in hypothetical emergency scenarios. It was difficult but extremely fun to learn about these things in such detail and depth. If you love a subject with real passion, then learning will not be a chore,” he enthuses. And that passion certainly did shine through as four years after his UEC disappointment; Owen was at Nilai U to receive his BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering with his other cohorts in a ceremony to celebrate the first batch of student to receive their degrees from Kingston University, UK. “I strongly recommend all other Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering students to look at this if you are serious about wanting to learn more about aircraft operating systems and want to go far in your career,” he extols. “Don’t give up on your dreams. I am a good example of a student who achieved something despite not having the best secondary results. I let my passion and dream to become a pilot propel me forward.”
Nilai U has a dedicated hangar on campus with workshops, lecture rooms and two aircraft for the benefit of the aircraft maintenance engineering students. The Diploma programme is 2.5 years in duration (inclusive of six-month OJT) while the top up BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, UK will require a further 12 months. Kingston University’s degree is internationally recognised and will allow students to later pursue a Master’s degree in a related field. For more information, please go to or call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336 / 03-79603089.
Owen Ng Wai Pan celebrating getting his BSc (Hons) in Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, UK with his family. He believes a degree is essential for those who wish to climb the career ladder.
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