AFTER four years of studying computing systems at Temasek Polytechnic and not doing well in it, Mr Muhammad Munir Ahmad decided to pursue his dreams and fly high.

"I love airplanes and things associated with them, such as engines and aircraft models," said the 29-year-old who decided to switch to a course in mechatronics.

Working in the aviation industry was his dream, so when he graduated, he applied for a job at global engineering company Rolls-Royce Singapore as a trainee technician instead of pursuing a degree.

After three years, he was promoted to become a test engineer - a position usually for degree-holders - in January this year.

His job is to run tests for production engines such as the Trent 900 which powers the Airbus A-380, the world's largest passenger plane, after they are assembled.

"I didn't think I would be promoted so fast. The company really looks at our abilities and performance on the job, and our willingness to learn new skills," he said.

The company has also provided on-the-job training for him, by sending him to Derby, its manufacturing facility in Britain, for six months in 2012.

To deepen his knowledge, he has been attending night classes since August last year, about two to three times a week at the Air Transport Training College, an aerospace training school in Seletar.

He will graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney next year with a bachelor of engineering science in aerospace operations.

"In this industry, skills-based experience is very important, and that comes on the job. That's why I chose to work first. Upgrading opportunities will always be there," he said.