(HONG KONG) Thirty graduates from the Dragonair Aviation Certificate Programme (DACP) 2013 were honoured at a special event organised last Friday to mark the conclusion of the latest programme. The DACP, a major initiative under the Dragonair Youth Aviation Academy, aims to motivate and inspire young Hong Kong people aged 18 to 25 who aspire to develop a career in aviation. The nine-month educational journey is organised jointly by Dragonair and the Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Patrick Yeung said: “As a Hong Kong airline, Dragonair is committed to the development of the city’s youngsters and the local aviation industry. This programme has benefited scores of young people in helping them to reach for the skies and explore their aviation dreams. The success of the DACP can be measured by the fact that 43% of the programme’s 115 alumni have embarked on careers in aviation, working as pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers and ground-handling operators. ”
Guest of Honour at the graduation, Director General of Civil Aviation Norman Lo, said: “I am sure all DACP graduates have gained a solid foundation of aviation knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of our air transport system.” Mr Lo extended his gratitude to Dragonair and the DACP’s supporting organisations for helping to promote the sustainable development of Hong Kong’s air transport industry by nurturing young talents for the aviation industry.
The 30 members of this year’s programme had to compete with more than 300 applicants and went through a stringent selection process. Since the programme’s launch in 2005, the number of applications, graduates, mentors and supporting organisations has grown annually. The programme started accepting public applicants three years ago and the intake was expanded to 30 for the 2013 programme. More than 140 graduates have benefited from the programme so far.
The programme has received tremendous support from aviation industry partners since its inception, all of them sharing the same enthusiasm for nurturing the next generation of talent. In addition, about 70 Dragonair pilot mentors took part in the DACP this year, each of them paired with a programme member to provide guidance as their mentees undertook intensive aviation training sessions, in-depth tours and stringent assessments.
Programme graduates said the unique opportunity to learn from the industry’s best has helped them in the pursuit of their career goals. One graduate, Sing Lam, said the DACP had inspired him from many perspectives. "Observing a flight from the cockpit, flying in the skies above Shek Kong, building a mentorship with a real-life pilot, and learning about different aviation professions – these are all valuable experiences that I couldn’t find elsewhere in Hong Kong,” he said.
Hogan Loh, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps, the joint organiser of the programme, said: “The graduates’ completion of the DACP is indeed a testimony of their initiative, hard work and strong desire to succeed and reach for the sky. I am sure what happened over the past nine months will have unlocked their potential and broadened their horizons.”
Dragonair General Manager Operations Captain Peter Sanderson stressed the participation of pilot mentors as an important aspect of the programme. “Our mentors share their knowledge and experience of what it takes to become a professional pilot and about their lifestyle, as well as giving advice on personal development. This all helps to make the DACP truly unique and extra special,” Capt Sanderson said.
Following the graduation of this year’s participants, enrolment for the 2014 programme has begun and is open until 15 December 2013. Young people who are interested to explore the exciting world of aviation should not miss this valuable learning opportunity. Programme details and application procedures can be found on the programme website: www.dragonair.com/aviationacademy.