Poly aviation students shine in India internship

SINGAPORE - Just 19, four aviation students of Temasek Polytechnic had adults in New Delhi listening avidly as they taught them the art of greeting passengers.

It was part of their six-month internship at ground-handling company Air India Sats Airport Services, a partnership between Air India and Singapore flight service firm Sats.

During their stint there from May to October last year, the four students helped produce training manuals on airport operations and conducted classes for new workers.

They even saved about 432,000 rupees (S$8,900) a year for the Indian firm by cutting training time.

Team member Arjun Rajendran said: "It was a rare and valuable experience to be involved in the actual operations of the company. Not all internship programmes provide the same opportunity."

They were the first batch of students picked for this overseas internship and were paid the equivalent of nearly S$300 a month.

Students typically do their work attachments in Singapore, the polytechnic said.

Mr Gary Ho, an aviation lecturer at the polytechnic, said: "At the end of the stint, we also got positive feedback from the ground-handling firm on the work our boys did. We are now exploring the possibility of sending a second batch this year."

But it was not easy convincing the students and their parents at first, he said.

"There was some reluctance on the part of the parents especially. They wanted to know where the boys would stay, who would be with them, how they would commute to and from work."

They should not have worried.

The students stayed in an apartment in Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, New Delhi's answer to Orchard Road, and travelled by car to their workplace nearby.

The stint helped them get a better grounding in all things Indian.

As team member Ng Kok Jin said: "I didn't know much about Indian culture before I went, but now I know that naan (Indian bread) and prata are different. I also picked up some Hindi words like 'chalo' (let's go) and brought back some Bollywood movie DVDs."

karam@sph.com.sg


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