In a sentiment echoed throughout the industry, the National Business Aviation Association wrote: “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) National Employment Matrix predicts the number of “aircraft pilots, copilots and flight engineers” in this country will grow from 103,500 to 114,900 (11.1 percent) between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also predicts that the pilot and flight engineer workforce within the airline sector will grow from 70,800 to 75,300 (6.4 percent). Notably, the BLS has predicted more robust growth in those professions within “commercial aviation” (non-airline) during that same decade – from 32,700 to 39,700 (21 percent). At the same time, educators suggest the number of aspiring pilots entering flight training is dwindling.”1
Yet, no one can deny aviation has been the sole driving force in building a globalized world of trade, finance and cultural exchange. Once the sole purview of a few dozen brave souls, aviation as an industry has grown to transport more than 3 billion passengers as of 2013. Estimates indicate that world air travel will exceed 6 billion passengers with untold billions in cargo shipments by the year 2030.
Despite what appear to be temporary fluctuations in global GDP, a study published during November 2013 stated: “ICAO forecasts some 25,000 new aircraft being added to the current fleet of 17,000 in the coming 20 years, the question is how we will get the people to operate and manage these mega fleets.”2
While often thought to reference shortages solely of pilots, mechanics, engineers, operations and ground support staff, however, the simple fact remains: the same paradigm holds true for the fields of aviation security, airport fire/rescue, safety and emergency responders
Over time, in response to an ever changing global geo-political environment, international governing bodies and national regulatory agencies have created an often confusing myriad rules, procedures and qualifications for personnel certification. In order to ensure the safety and security of passengers, airline equipment and airport operations regulations, policies and procedures grew ever more complex.
In order to maintain a pool of properly trained and qualified personnel within the industry, regulators compiled a multi-disciplinary set of standards and practices for training and certification applicable to each individual discipline. As example, long gone are the days when aviation security meant little more than a kindly retired gentlemen sitting in a glass booth at the airport gate with little more to do than control inbound traffic or scan the terrain for potential ne’er-do-wells.
Partnerships for Success
Today’s world demands highly skilled employees in all aspects of civil aviation. Addressing this need requires both initial and mandatory retraining utilizing the latest educational techniques coupled with a task-based and hands-on approach to learning.
Within the past decade key industry policy-making organizations such as ICAO, IATA, and ACI along with National Civil Aviation Authorities of many countries have come to realize the optimum learning environment for vocational/technical training comes in the academic setting of an accredited university. This realization has led to a public-private partnerships between ICAO, IATA and Concordia University. Mirroring the ICAO model, many member states, such as Nigeria, Abu Dhabi, Kazakhstan and a host of others have moved all aspects of their mandated aviation training to State run, accredited institutions.
Private aviation training organizations of all disciplines as well, have taken up the gauntlet in finding the most cost-effective and efficient means to providing adequate industry training and certification universally acceptable to Civil Aviation Authorities is through a partnership with an accredited learning institution. In the field of academia the Concordia Model, over time, has been joined in the field by a number of US and EU accredited institutions.3
Following the methodology laid out by the Canadian Council for Aviation an Aerospace 4,academic institutions and many public/private partnerships are working to ensure the global aviation industry has enough workers with the right skills and certifications to meet growing industry needs. Drawing from their research and expertise, training of aviation personnel in all fields has moved from an abstract-based assessment (based on students memorizing policy, procedures and operations) to a competency-based and task-oriented training philosophy. Once developed, competency profiles detail what skills and knowledge each specific occupation within the industry needs. These competency profiles are then integrated into National Aviation Programs ranging from the National Civil Aviation Act to the National AVSEC Plan, National Emergency Plan, National AVSEC Training Program, Quality Assurance programs and so on, all the way down to the individual airport level.
Students no longer need suffer at the hands of tedious and arduous lectures straining to remember countless PowerPoint© presentations to the monotonic drone of a “learned” trainer. Generation 5 learners have at their command a new task-based, multimedia world of learning. The latest methods combine brief lectures, stimulating and interactive video with Computer Based Modules and hands-on real world experiences of practicing the policies, procedures and technical skills to meet the competencies required for Certification within their respective discipline. Whether mechanic, pilot, security officer, administrator or fire/rescue personnel, each student assimilates the skills necessary in a “virtual” real world setting. A far cry and light years ahead of the “Traditional” learning model employed in past decades.
- Planning for tomorrow’s human resource needs, today, ICAO TrainingVol.3 No. 2