Sunday July 22, 2012
Man enough for the job
By TAN EE LOO
COLLEGE student R. Deenadayalini likes to do research about air disasters and plane crashes when she is free.
She studies the factual accounts of the world’s deadliest crashes and tries to understand the causes that could have led to the doomed flights.
“Aviation accidents serve as ‘an eye-opener’ for those who work in the industry as it enables them to determine and analyse factors that could have caused an airplane to meet its ill fate,” adds the 19-year old.
As a student studying aircraft maintenance engineering, Deenadayalini is aware of the responsibilities that come with the job when she joins the aviation industry and pays close attention to detail to ensure the safety of the passengers.
“Our role is to make sure the aircraft we check have met all aviation technical and safety requirements and are ‘fit’ for flying. It pays to be cautious because even the smallest mistake can cause an accident.”
“Aviation accidents serves as a lesson for everyone who works in the industry,” says Deenadayalini .
Having the right attitude and work ethics will determine an engineer’s success, be it a female or a male engineer.
Come rain or shine, an aircraft maintenance engineer inspects, tests, aligns, repairs and installs aircraft electrical and, among others, avionic system components.
While it may not sound like a regular job that appeals to many women, the programme has attracted a number of female students over the years.
Deenadayalini is one of the 12 female students pursuing the aircraft maintenance engineering programme at Nilai University College (Nilai UC).
Her decision to sign up for the course to prepare herself in a male-dominated industry may have raised a few eyebrows, but she is determined to prove that women are just as capable of handling a “a man’s job”.
“The technical aspects are challenging but what one needs is a sharp mind and analytical skills. We can do it,” she says.
Despite the dresscode, the female students take pride in the training they receive and say getting their hands dirty at a noisy and hot training place like a hangar is not a big issue.
Having the confidence makes all the difference, says another female student Nency Philip Selvaraju, 21.
“In fact, the boys constantly benchmark themselves against the girls because we fare better in some subjects,” she says.
Nency’s ambition is to be a pilot, and she believes her training in aircraft maintenance and engineering would give her an edge.
The male students may be surprised to see the girls join their ranks, but there is no jeering or booing.
“We are given fair and equal treatment by our lecturers and coursemates and we don’t ever feel left out. I believe girls can do as well as the boys in aircraft maintenance engineering,” says student P. Murugan Hemamalini, 20.
When it comes to leadership, Nency says the boys were more than happy to “let the girls take the lead” as class leader.
Hemamalini says it is important to stay fit and alert because, trouble-shooting aside, the job requires a fair bit amount of physical work as well.
“There are times that we are bound to climb ladders, crawl into tiny spaces and lift heavy items,” she says.
According to Nilai UC’s website, applicants have to be certified by medical practitioners as fit to be accepted into the programme.
Hemamalini says she exercises regularly to increase her stamina.
“I play netball and like to take part in marathons. I try to keep myself fit and eat right because that is the only way to stay healthy and focus on the job. A lack of concentration could lead to errors at work,” she says.