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Aviation and STEM, engineering the nation’s future

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Zorba Parer is the CEO at ZPAC Aerospace. ZPAC provide aircraft engineering courses in Cambodia and abroad. Heng Chivoan

Aviation and STEM, engineering the nation’s future

The aviation industry in Cambodia is currently booming. Direct flights from all over Southeast Asia (SEA) are increasing every month at the country’s largest three airports in cities Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap.

With one of the fastest growing markets for tourism in SEA, Cambodia is well positioned to capitalise on the rapid growth of air traffic in and out of the Kingdom, and the growth of air travel worldwide.

With the SEA region accounting for more than a third of the world’s passenger air traffic, tomorrow’s Cambodia will need a veritable fleet of technicians and engineers to help manage the infrastructure that must come with such an unprecedented growth.

Zorba Parer is CEO at ZPAC Aerospace. ZPAC offers aircraft maintenance engineering programs to students in the Kingdom and in Australia. Parer has worked in the aerospace sector as an engineer and consultant.

In particular he has been heavily involved with the implementation of education curriculums at the American Institute of Aeronautical and Astronautical Software, as part of the technical committee specialising in the input of STEM curriculums.

The Post interviewed Parer via email for an industry perspective on the importance of STEM to the aerospace and aircraft engineering sector in the Kingdom. From his professional perspective as an aircraft engineer, Parer detailed some of the benefits that STEM educated graduates can have for Cambodia.

“A STEM education allows students to understand the physical world and the various technologies and scientific basics which support them … without a solid foundation in STEM, citizens will struggle to understand the basics of most of the technology they will interact with in their professional lives. STEM is critical to creating self sufficient sovereign citizenry,” wrote Parer.

With regard to preparing students for an aircraft engineering course STEM skills will form the basis of not only the knowledge itself, but the necessary learning methodology.

Parer wrote, “An aerospace based STEM program gives students an exciting context to explore both the basics and advanced concepts in STEM. The Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program is a professional qualification with represents a capstone on the basic [STEM] education students receive in primary and secondary education”.

When asked about aviation infrastructure in Cambodia and the possibility of a strong aviation engineering sector in the future, Parer pointed out that “A STEM program of sufficient significance is required to advance any nation in the modern era. Cambodia has many opportunities to introduce STEM, and to gain support from various international agencies in doing so.”

In short, without STEM graduates, unfazed by technological advancements and possessing the necessary approach to facilitate solutions to challenges as they arise, a stable and highly skilled workforce will be impossible anywhere.

Proper technical skills can be used in the industry worldwide, and staying up to date with the most modern innovations in the field will aid in career longevity.

Aviation is not going anywhere soon, but due to climate issues, fuel and infrastructure costs, the aviation sector of the future promises to be a quickly developing technological workplace with challenges and the promise of exciting developments in the years to come. When it comes to ZPACs Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program, Parer remarked.

“Students who attend (ZPAC) without a solid STEM education will struggle to understand the concepts of our program … A STEM education will be a major advantage for students considering a career in aviation.” For the aviation sector in Cambodia STEM skills are an absolute necessity.

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