Callaghan College, a public school in Newcastle, has partnered with a private sector company to develop a nationally certified Certificate III in Aviation – Remote Drone Piloting course. According to an article in the Educator “The classes are being co-delivered at the school’s senior campus by teachers and trained professionals from UAV Air, a company which offers drone piloting courses, and will involve 240 hours of face-to-face training spread across 4 units.”
Students have the option to continue their studies through to Year 12 and take both a Certificate III Aviation and the HSC. Alternatively, students can leave school at the end of Year 11 and “gain employment at the cutting edge of a fledgling, booming industry as a drone pilot”.
Now I’m not sure how deep the job opportunities for drone pilots currently are. There are certainly some jobs but, realistically, they have to be fairly few and far between. There are obviously new opportunities opening up all the time: I read recently that drones are being used to check electricity and phone pylons. And increasing regulation of drones will mean that there will be more jobs for those with qualifications. But that isn’t really the point.
No, I think, the point is less about specific jobs than about innovation in education and seeing schools properly react to what’s actually happening out in the real world. Drones are part of our new world and training people to take advantage of that shows real leadership by the team at Callaghan College. It would be nice to see other schools and the NSW Department of Education follow down this sort of road. That means things like moving on from teaching IT students that floppy disks are a storage medium or that someone running a website is called a ‘web-master’ (yes, the textbooks still do that) to teaching them the real skills they need to work in our modern world.
Let’s hope we’ll see more real innovation like this.