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A True Dual Credit Graduate in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering

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Anastasia AndersonDAWSON CREEK – In recent years, a number of secondary school students have enrolled as Dual Credit students in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) program at the Dawson Creek Campus of Northern Lights College.

But on Jan. 28, 18-year-old Anastasia Anderson became the first Dual Credit student to complete the program while still in secondary school.

Dual Credit allows secondary school students to enrol in College programming while still in secondary school, earning credits at both levels at the same time. Each year, dozens of Dual Credit students earn Certificates in five- or eight-month programs at NLC.

But earning a Diploma in a 15-month program as a Dual Credit student is a significant accomplishment. It requires planning on the part of the student to ensure secondary school course requirements are met, and then completing first- and second-year courses at the College level.

“I’ve always been used to working independently through distributed learning courses. Distributed learning was challenging for me, so when I started here, I was prepared for a difficult program,” Anderson said.

Anderson studied through the South Peace Distributed Learning School (formerly Electric Education) in Dawson Creek prior to starting the AME program in September 2009. She was an accomplished student, having met the AME program’s prerequisites (Grade 11 Math, English and Science) by the end of Grade 10. After completing English 12 in Grade 11, she had completed her required secondary school courses, and was ready to concentrate on AME.

“You have to really be dedicated. The instructors, and the other students push you, and it’s good that they push you, because that’s what it takes to be successful in the industry,” Anderson said. “It takes focus, and total dedication, and you need to be ready to work.”

Part of the reason for this is the responsibility undertaken by an aircraft maintenance engineer, with the lives of potentially thousands of people dependent daily on the knowledge and expertise of an engineer.

“It makes me more aware of being careful and safe, and making sure that everything is done right. You can’t be in a rush,” Anderson said.

She said that it helped to be surrounded by a group of students and instructors who share the same goals.

“That’s the great thing about this class, everyone is so dedicated,” Anderson said. “This is a really good class, my classmates and instructors are great. It’s almost like a family, with great dynamics.”

Even then, Anderson had some doubts through the first five months of the program.

“The first five months were the toughest. We did a lot of sheet metal work, and I had never done that before,” Anderson said. “But the last five months have been awesome, working on the floor, working on the aircraft.

The AME Basic program is designed for students seeking a Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Licence, Category M1 or M2. Federal law requires aircraft to be certified before flight at regular intervals and after maintenance. There are three components required for licence application: training, experience, and successfully completing the Canadian Aviation Regulation exam. An NLC diploma provides the full training component and one and a half years of the four-year experience component.

Anderson plans to work in the field of helicopters, and already had an interview scheduled with a company in Fort St. John.

For more information on the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program, check the NLC website at or call 250-782-5251 or 1-866-463-6652. For more information on Dual Credit programming, students should contact their secondary school counselor.