Paramount Group today handed over a Mirage V airframe to Rhodesfield Technical High School to mark the official launch of the first Engineering School of Specialisation in Aviation, and to celebrate its partnership with Gauteng’s Department of Education.
The MEC of Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, presided over the official unveiling of the Mirage V which will be on permanent display at the entrance to the school.
“As an Engineering School of Specialisation, with specialisation in Aviation, Rhodesfield is purposed to address critical skill shortages and nurture the development of top talent in the five key disciplines, namely, Mathematics, Science and ICT, Engineering, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Performing and Creative Arts and Sports,” Paramount said in a statement.
The school curriculum will, in addition to focusing on core subjects, also focus on courses of specialisation linked to aeronautical and industrial engineering. These learning opportunities will be provided through extended class times and after school programmes.
Brian Greyling, CEO of Paramount Aerospace Systems said: “We are very proud of our partnership with Gauteng’s Department of Education and Rhodesfield Engineering School. This donation confirms our long-term commitment to the growth of South Africa’s aviation sector. It is our hope that the Mirage aircraft will stand proudly as a symbol of aviation excellence in the province, and that it will instill and nurture a passion for aviation and encourage learners to embark on an exciting future in the aerospace industry.”
Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of Paramount Group, operates an Aviation Academy in Polokwane which is dedicated to the training and qualification of the next generation of South Africans looking for a career in the aviation industry.
Paramount’s Aviation Academy recently launched an internationally recognized aviation technician course to train aircraft technicians as the demand for these professionals is sharply on the increase across Africa and around the world.
Greyling added that, “insufficient training capacity and an exodus of skilled manpower are some of the most important factors that have resulted in a shortage of aviation professionals in Africa. Across both the civilian and military aviation sectors there are increasing skills shortages.
“Investing in the development of aviation human capacity is a key. I want to congratulate the Gauteng Department of Education on the establishment of Rhodesfield as an Engineering School with specialisation in aviation. This initiative will go a long way to reduce the gap between the number of professionals sought and the training capacity in South Africa.”
The three-year course offered by Paramount Group covers theory and practical training across two trades, namely Mechanical Technician and Avionics Technician. The mechanical training will be conducted on all aspects of the aircraft covering the airframe, hydraulics, piston engines, turbine engines, undercarriage, pneumatic systems and fuel systems.
The Avionics training course will cover all aspects of the aircraft avionics trade namely aircraft instruments, electrical systems, radios and navigation systems.
“Paramount Group has decades of experience in training aircraft technicians for air forces, we have some of the best qualified training personnel on the continent, and our world-class training modules are tried and tested, practical and designed for the real world,” Greyling said.
Lesufi said that although the Rhodesfield Engineering School focuses on aviation, it is also Gauteng’s third school of specialisation that uses nuclear technology.
“That we have opened three schools that specialise in the use of nuclear is something to be proud of. We went to SAA and requested that they donate an engine for a township school. They told us that an engine of a 747 engine is expensive…but they donated the engine anyway. Today, one of our schools in Soweto has the engine…they can dismantle that engine and build it again while in a township classroom,” Lesufi said.
One of the pupils said she was selected to take part in the Molo Africa project. This saw 20 teenagers build a Sling light aircraft over three weeks at The Airplane Factory at Tedderfield. The aircraft will be flown from Cape Town to Cairo in December 2018/January 2019 by teenagers Megan Werner and Ntando Makwela. They plan to get youngsters interested in aviation both in South Africa and across the continent, and make a TV series about their adventure.
Lesufi added that although Gauteng does not have an ocean, in a few months’ time a school of maritime studies will be launched.