A group of pilot trainees meant to travel to Australia to begin flight school last month is making do with online training in Vietnam as COVID-19 grounds their study plans.
The partnership between Melbourne-based RMIT University and VinAcademy of Education and Training, established by Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, saw its first cohort of 12 pilot students begin their training in July, though studies have not exactly gone as planned thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the two-year partnership, Vietnamese students enrolled in RMIT’s associate degree in aviation are meant to be trained in Australia.
While the students were due to arrive in Australia to begin courses last semester, they are instead taking their first lessons online in Vietnam due to the current border closures.
Professor Peter Coloe, chairman of RMIT Vietnam, said the university is working with its partners to adapt to the current situation and ensure students are not at a disadvantage because of the change in curriculums.
“We’ve found ourselves in an interesting situation, with international and even state borders closed in Australia, stopping the cadets from traveling to commence the course. Yet in Vietnam, our campuses are all open and fully functioning,” Prof. Coloe was quoted as saying in a press release on the university’s website.
“Working together with our partner, we were able to leverage our terrific RMIT campus in Ho Chi Minh City to provide a supportive environment for the students while they study online with access to our flight simulator for the practical applications."
Even though the coursework is online, a local who previously worked as a pilot instructor for national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has been engaged to supplement classes with industry knowledge, support, and mentorship.
Australia has closed its international borders to all non-citizens and non-residents since March 20, with exemptions only for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, including spouses, legal guardians, and dependents.