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					Report of External
Evaluation and Review
Wings Flight Training Academy

Highly Confident in educational performance
Confident in capability in self-assessment




Date of report: 28 June 2011
Contents
Purpose of this Report................................................................... 3


Introduction ................................................................................... 3
  1. TEO in context..........................................................................................3
  2. Scope of external evaluation and review..................................................4
  3. Conduct of external evaluation and review...............................................4



Summary of Results ...................................................................... 5


Findings ........................................................................................ 7


Recommendations ...................................................................... 13


Further Actions............................................................................ 13


Appendix ..................................................................................... 14




MoE Number:                7828

NZQA Reference:            C04384

Date of EER visit:         28 April 2011




                                                     2
Purpose of this Report
The purpose of this external evaluation and review report is to provide a public statement
about the Tertiary Education Organisation’s (TEO) educational performance and
capability in self-assessment. It forms part of the accountability process required by
Government to inform investors, the public, students, prospective students, communities,
employers, and other interested parties. It is also intended to be used by the TEO itself for
quality improvement purposes.




Introduction
1. TEO in context
 Location:                         Manawatu Districts Aero Club, Palmerston North
                                   International Airport

 Type:                             Private Training Establishment

 First registered:                 2007

 Number of students:               Domestic: nil
                                   International: 30 students

 Number of staff:                  Three full-time, three part–time, one administration

 Scope of active accreditation:        •   Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) (Level 4)

                                       •   Commercial Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) (Level
                                           5)

                                       •   Multi Engine Rating Course (Level 3)

 Sites:                            As above

 Distinctive characteristics:      Wings Flight Training Academy (WFTA) shares
                                   facilities with Manawatu Districts Aero Club which was
                                   established in 1930. In 2006 WFTA integrated into the
                                   aero club and expanded to incorporate international
                                   students, mostly from India.

 Recent significant changes:       No significant recent changes

 Previous quality assurance        At the most recent NZQA quality assurance visit, an
 history:                          audit in 2009, WFTA met all requirements of QA
                                   Standard One, the quality assurance standard in force at
                                   the time, and of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral
                                   Care of International Students.



                                              3
 Other:                            WFTA is a limited liability company owned by the
                                   Manawatu Districts Aero Club and the organisation’s
                                   manager, who is also a director. The organisation has a
                                   simple structure with the manager delegating tasks to
                                   the chief flying instructor and administrator as required.




2. Scope of external evaluation and review
The scope included the mandatory focus areas of governance, management, and strategy,
and pastoral support of international students. The Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) was
also selected as a focus area because all the trainees are enrolled in this course.




3. Conduct of external evaluation and review
All external evaluation and reviews are conducted in accordance with NZQA’s published
policies and procedures. The methodology used is described fully in the web document
Policy and Guidelines for the Conduct of External Evaluation and Review available at:
http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/registration-and-accreditation/external-
evaluation-and-review/policy-and-guidelines-eer/introduction/

The EER team consisted of a lead evaluator and an external evaluator. The visit was for
one day. The team spoke to the chief flight instructor, four flying instructors, and all the
students currently enrolled at WFTA.

Wings Flight Training Academy has had an opportunity to comment on the accuracy of this
report, and submissions received have been fully considered by NZQA before finalising the
report.




                                               4
Summary of Results
Statement of confidence on educational performance
NZQA is Highly Confident in the educational performance of Wings Flight Training
Academy.

In the four years WFTA has been operating, the academy has trained 90 commercial pilots.
Only one student did not complete, for medical reasons. Most students return to India and,
after completing their Indian Commercial Pilot Licence, are employed by airlines. This
success rate can be attributed to the sole aim of students and instructors: gaining the
Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). This focus also means that students and instructors aim
to get to CPL standard within the minimum flying time of 200 hours. Students interviewed
commented that this standard was consistently reached.

Feedback from student interviews and written evaluations indicate that WFTA flight
instructors are excellent trainers with appropriate qualifications and experience to meet
New Zealand training needs. The academy prides itself on imparting knowledge to the
students beyond the technical skills of flying. The chief flying instructor believes
passionately that the organisation wants to develop good pilots. This includes developing
personal attributes in students such as judgement, patience, and integrity to help them
become mature people.


Statement of confidence on capability in self-assessment
NZQA is Confident in the capability in self-assessment of Wings Flight Training
Academy.

The chief flying instructor has a defined approach from his military background which
underpins the academy’s operation and which the staff and students understand and
appreciate. This approach, combined with close adherence to the Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA) syllabus and yearly relicensing of instructors by CAA, means ongoing self-
assessment and reflection is an integral part of the organisation.

Graduate feedback indicates that the CPL programme matches learner and employer needs
accurately. On return to India, students need to convert the New Zealand CPL into the
Indian equivalent which has a rigorous theory and practice examination. The chief flying
instructor knows the aviation system in India well which allows him to target training for
success in both the New Zealand and Indian CPL qualifications.

WFTA is well informed about graduates and their destinations and employment but would
benefit from formalising the extensive feedback received from former students and
employers of graduates by developing a process to gather this information in one place.
This would enable WFTA to identify trends across various intakes, gather data about
employment in India, and develop a useful marketing tool for recruitment trips to India.


TEO response

                                             5
Wings Flight Training Academy has confirmed the factual accuracy of this report.




                                            6
Findings1
1.1 How well do learners achieve?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Excellent

Wings has accreditation to offer two NZQA-approved courses which lead to successful
students gaining New Zealand Civil Aviation (CAA) private and commercial pilot licences.
The organisation has a focus on enrolling international students only. At the time of the
evaluation 30, mostly Indian, students were enrolled at WFTA. There are three to four
different groups on campus at any one time, with varying start dates. Students are
externally assessed for CPL by Aviation Services Limited (ASL), the organisation with
delegated authority from CAA for all assessments, flight testing, and personnel licensing.
This means assessments have performance indicators that are measurable and benchmarked
across the country.

In the four years WFTA has been operating, the academy has trained 90 commercial pilots.
Only one student did not complete, for medical reasons. Most students return to India and,
after completing their Indian CPL, are employed by airlines. This success rate can be
attributed to the sole aim of students and instructors: gaining CPL. This focus also means
that students and instructors aim to get to CPL standard within the minimum flying time of
200 hours. Students interviewed commented that this standard was consistently reached
because instructors used intensive mock training techniques before any final testing
occurred. The result was that by the time ASL assessors arrived, students felt very prepared
and confident about performing successfully. Students have achieved consistently well
over time against their aim of completing the CPL because of the shared focus and
determination of students and instructors and by adhering to accredited processes in the
industry.



1.2 What is the value of the outcomes for key stakeholders, including
    learners?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Excellent

Students achieve well at WFTA, with most students completing CPL in six to seven months,
and two very able students completing in four months. The industry standard is one to two
years. These results are attributable to consistent management around attendance, standards
of dress, and accepted codes of personal behaviour. Most students live in accommodation
provided by WFTA within walking distance of the academy, providing them with a safe,


1
  The findings in this report are derived using a standard process and are based on a targeted sample of
the organisation’s activities.


                                                   7
secure environment with others of the same culture. The chief flying instructor, an
experienced pilot with Indian flight credentials, acts as a father figure to the students, shares
the same cultural background and, by his own definition, is strict but fair. This arrangement
works well for the parents of the students who contact the chief flying instructor when they
want to know how their children are progressing. It also provides a consistent standard of
supervision for the students who told the evaluation team that these arrangements were for
their own good and that they appreciated the close supervision, care, and mentoring shown
by the chief flying instructor in particular, but also by all the staff at WFTA. The shared
accommodation also gives students time to study and learn together.

The academy prides itself on imparting knowledge to the students beyond the technical
skills of flying. The chief flying instructor believes passionately that the organisation wants
to develop good pilots. This includes developing personal attributes in students such as
judgement, patience, and integrity to help them become mature people capable of making
what can sometimes be life-changing decisions.

Students achieve the CPL efficiently within minimum flying times, indicating that the
instruction is effective and targeted to industry standards and requirements. Key
stakeholders, such as parents and students, are having their needs met by WFTA, providing
a comprehensive student experience, including accommodation on site, shared cultural
values, and a comprehensive understanding of the Indian aviation industry which assists
them with employment on their return to India.



1.3 How well do programmes and activities match the needs of
    learners and other stakeholders?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Good.

Graduate feedback indicates that the CPL programme matches learner and employer needs
accurately. On return to India, students need to convert the New Zealand CPL into the
Indian equivalent which is a rigorous theory and practice examination. The chief flying
instructor knows the aviation system in India well which allows him to target training for
success in both the New Zealand and Indian CPL qualifications.

The evaluation team sighted email feedback from previous students of WFTA recounting
their work experiences since graduation, requesting further flying instruction at the
academy, and indicating how the standard of their training had been noticed by experienced
and qualified pilots in India. For example, “My instructor commended my handling on the
approach and my speed and height management, he was also happy with my professional
attitude and said that my training in New Zealand had not just made me a mechanical pilot
but also a thinking pilot”.

The chief flying instructor contributes to the wider Palmerston North community by
allowing WFTA facilities to be used by others, for example the Flying Doctor Service and
trainee pilot cadets. He also provides free flying to committed, talented students. The



                                               8
evaluation team was impressed with this active engagement with the community and the
commitment to high standards for students.

While there is a lot of informal, unsolicited feedback from former graduates, this naturally
tends to come from the most successful graduates who have gained Indian certification and
employment. The organisation would benefit from more formal tracking of graduates after
their return to India to provide data about changing employment patterns and developments
in the aviation industry in India. This ongoing needs analysis could be used to inform
training processes in New Zealand.



1.4 How effective is the teaching?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Excellent.

Feedback from student interviews and written evaluations indicate that WFTA flight
instructors are excellent trainers with appropriate qualifications and experience to meet
New Zealand training needs. All instructors hold appropriate instructor ratings and are
employed on permanent contracts. Staff interviewed said they felt valued by the
organisation and were inducted well. In common with some other flying schools, there is a
relatively high turnover of flying instructors and several have not been with the
organisation long enough to be formally appraised. However, their performance has been
adequately monitored as they have a flight test and a medical test with CAA every year to
maintain licensing and most have instructed at other flight schools in New Zealand.

Ongoing retraining is usually focussed around a new prescription that CAA has introduced
to the syllabus, such as mountain flying. Any changes to the CAA prescription usually take
two to three years before they are introduced and become mandatory to teach.

The evaluation team was impressed with the student and instructor records of progress – the
log books – which are checked and cross-referenced. They were well written and included
comprehensive records of pre- and post-flight debriefing where expectations of the flight
are discussed prior to stepping into the plane and post-flight when the student discusses
with his instructor whether these expectations were met. Students commented that this
process provided them with immediate feedback on areas where improvement and further
study were required or where their performance was up to standard.

Students interviewed appreciated the family atmosphere at WFTA and that instructors
related to them individually, gave them extra help if they were struggling, and understood
the requirements of flying as they were qualified pilots themselves. Instructors commented
that watching the students improve is very satisfying and rewarding.

The chief flying instructor has a defined approach from his military background which
underpins the academy’s operation and which the staff and students understand and
appreciate. This approach, combined with close adherence to the CAA syllabus and yearly
relicensing of instructors by CAA, means ongoing self-assessment and reflection are an
integral part of the organisation.


                                              9
1.5 How well are learners guided and supported?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Excellent.

Students are guided and supported well from the time they arrive in New Zealand to when
they leave. They are met at the airport on arrival and introduced to New Zealand culture,
which is very different to Indian culture. Most stay in the accommodation provided by
WFTA which has separate houses for the male and female students, an arrangement the
students’ parents expect and appreciate. As discussed earlier in this report, the chief flying
instructor acts as a respected father figure which encourages parents to recommend WFTA
to their children and helps students feel safe and secure, as they would at home.

Students interviewed by the evaluation team commented that they were disciplined and
counselled which showed that the academy was concerned for them and believed that they
could succeed. They agreed that the accommodation provided, including the separation of
the men and women and the bans on smoking and alcohol, were appropriate and helped
them to stay focussed on their study and to make the most of their time at the academy.
The chief flying instructor is available around the clock to both students and parents and
two other instructors also provide pastoral care, a male instructor for the men and a female
instructor for the women.

The family atmosphere provided at WFTA is a major selling point of the academy, as is the
belief that the standard of flight instruction in New Zealand, including the range of flight
and weather conditions, is superior to that in other countries. Some students interviewed
had studied at flight schools in other countries such as the Philippines and the United States
of America, where there is less regulation, and said that New Zealand has a very good
reputation overseas for having high standards for the training of pilots. The individual
tuition available supports students to progress at their own speed.




                                              10
1.6 How effective are governance and management in supporting
    educational achievement?
The rating for performance in relation to this key evaluation question is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this key evaluation question is Good.

The chief flying instructor is also the chief executive and manager of the school. The chief
flying instructor, his wife, and the club president of the Manawatu Districts Aero Club
comprise the board. The evaluation team noted that the chief flying instructor is very
committed to the staff and students and works hard to develop graduates with excellent
technical and personal attributes. His unshakeable belief is that the best pilots need to be
technically qualified and balanced personalities, and also possess maturity in decision–
making. Feedback from employers of WFTA graduates shows that graduates demonstrate
these qualities.

The chief flying instructor, while delegating to staff, is very involved in the day-to–day
operation of the academy and likes to know what is going on at all times. He meets with
students and instructors weekly, so information is passed directly to students and staff. He
also attends employment fairs in India where he recruits and receives informal feedback on
previous graduates.

Changes to New Zealand government funding for pilot training, with loan reductions for the
CPL, mean WFTA is considering expanding into the domestic market. The academy has
resourcing for 90 pilots and sufficient planes in storage to meet this expansion.

WFTA is well informed about graduates and their destinations and employment but would
benefit from formalising the extensive feedback received from former students and
employers of graduates by developing a process to gather this information in one place.
This would enable WFTA to identify trends across various intakes and would provide a
useful marketing tool for recruitment trips to India.




                                             11
Focus Areas
This section reports significant findings in each focus area, not already covered in Part 1.



2.1 Focus area: Governance, management, and strategy
The rating in this focus area for educational performance is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this focus area is Good.



2.2 Focus area: Commercial Pilot Licence
The rating in this focus area for educational performance is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this focus area is Good.



2.3 Focus area: International students
The rating in this focus area for educational performance is Excellent.

The rating for capability in self-assessment for this focus area is Excellent.




                                               12
Recommendations
There are no recommendations arising from the external evaluation and review.




Further actions
The next external evaluation and review will take place in accordance with NZQA’s policy
and is likely to occur within four years of the date of this report.




                                           13
Appendix
Regulatory basis for external evaluation and review
Self-assessment and external evaluation and review are requirements of course approval
and accreditation (under sections 258 and 259 of the Education Act 1989) for all TEOs that
are entitled to apply. The requirements are set through the course approval and
accreditation criteria and policies established by NZQA under section 253(1)(d) and (e) of
the Act.

In addition, for registered private training establishments, the criteria and policies for their
registration require self-assessment and external evaluation and review at an
organisational level in addition to the individual courses they own or provide. These
criteria and policies are set by NZQA under section 253(1)(ca) of the Act.

NZQA is responsible for ensuring non-university TEOs continue to comply with the policies
and criteria after the initial granting of approval and accreditation of courses and/or
registration. The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC) has statutory
responsibility for compliance by universities.

This report reflects the findings and conclusions of the external evaluation and review
process, conducted according to the policies and criteria approved by the NZQA Board.

The report identifies strengths and areas for improvement in terms of the organisation’s
educational performance and capability in self-assessment.

External evaluation and review reports are one contributing piece of information in
determining future funding decisions where the organisation is a funded TEO subject to an
investment plan agreed with the Tertiary Education Commission.

External evaluation and review reports are public information and are available from the
NZQA website (www.nzqa.govt.nz).

Information relevant to the external evaluation and review process, including the
publication Policy and Guidelines for the Conduct of External Evaluation and Review, is
available at: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/registration-and-
accreditation/external-evaluation-and-review/policy-and-guidelines-eer/introduction/



NZQA
Ph 0800 697 296
E eeradmin@nzqa.govt.nz

www.nzqa.govt.nz



                                              14

				
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