Africa will require 24,000 aviation technicians and engineers within the next 20 years, out of the 617,000 commercial airline pilots, 679,000 maintenance technicians and over 814,000 newly trained and certified cabin crew required globally.
Over 22,000 cabin crew will equally be required even with the projected increase in volume of air travellers.
With this future challenge in mind, stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation industry have embarked on various forms of awareness campaigns and sensitization programmes for young people, to encourage aspirations for aviation careers.
Arik Air, through its Cabin Crew Initiative, recently held career talk at St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, Idimu, Lagos to sensitize the students on career opportunities in the aviation industry.
The airline’s crew who spoke at the programme included a pilot, Babajide Oni and Wale Odeyemi, a Cabin Crew Training Instructor. They told the students that they could become pilots, aircraft engineers and cabin crew members by remaining focused on their academic studies.
Odeyemi said the programme apart from kindling the students’ interest in aviation, was also aimed at sensitizing them on the importance of the airline’s crew to safety of passengers. According to him, there is the need for a replacement of the aging workforce in the aviation industry.
Similarly, Oni noted that even though the cost of studying at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria and International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin was expensive, some students could get scholarships if they were hardworking and brilliant.
The Administrator of the school, Leo Muoneme said the school would continue to encourage students to follow their passion. He said it would be great if some of the students became part of the aviation sector in future.
NCAT’s Rector, Abdusalami Muhammed said the college expected 1500 students to attend the one day Open Day Programme it organized recently but hosted almost 2,000 attendees to the event. No fewer than 1,821 students from 74 secondary schools in three northern states of Nigeria attended the programme..
Muhammed said the event was an eye-opener to many of the attendees who were hitherto ignorant of the various courses offered by the college and the multiple opportunities that abound in the industry. He noted that the Open Day programme achieved its aim of sensitizing the public on the activities of the college. Students from tertiary institutions across northern Nigeria were equally in attendance.
Obafemi Joseph, the Bristow Manager for Nigerian Content Development says Bristow Nigeria’s recent investment of over N100 Million (over $300,000) towards the training of 20 qualified Nigerian indigenous graduates at NCAT is aimed at assisting “in developing local human capacity in the Nigerian aviation industry and also help in meeting the identified skill gap within the industry”
The National Travel Essay Competition (NTEC) is a future workforce development initiative (FWDI) of Travel & Business News (TBN) that is aimed at discovering hidden talents and encouraging young Nigerians to follow a career in the aviation and travel & tourism sectors. Its goal is to drum up greater awareness and support for the air transport industry and is geared towards raising future aviation professionals in an effort to address the challenges of ageing workforce and skilled manpower shortage in the sector.
TBN, an air transport safety and security publication, recently held the competition’s 10th Anniversary (NTEC 2019) aimed at encouraging Nigerian youngsters from the grassroots to follow a career in the sector.
The event which was tagged: “Changing History,” attracted youths from Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions across the country and was held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Tracing back the history of the competition, the Founder and National Coordinator of NTEC, Ewos Iroro, said that: “NTEC is a future workforce development initiative (FWDI) of TBN established in 2009 with a view to injecting fresh and ready hands into the sector and establishing a training scholarship trust fund for winners to support their quest to follow a career in the sector.”
Iroro noted that in the past ten years, NTEC has succeeded in raising fresh professionals for the sector including Temitope Coker (NTEC 2010) who graduated from University of Lagos and now practices as a Lawyer with keen interest in Aviation Law; Amina Kabiru Gusau (NTEC 2011), a graduate of Biochemistry from Uthman Dan fodio University, Sokoto going for a career in Aeromedicine; Adeola Peace (NTEC 2013) a First Class graduate of Aeronautical Engineering from Shenyang Aerospace University, Liaoning, China; and Karimat Sowemimo (NTEC 2014) currently at the University of North Texas, USA studying Mechanical and Energy Engineering with a strong passion for aviation.
An estimated 1,850 secondary school students have so far participated in the annual contest which holds in six zones of Nigeria. Also, in the tertiary institutions category, about 200 participants have so far taken part in the contest since the category was introduced in 2014 with more and more interests being shown by students on an annual basis.
The topics chosen for NTEC 2019 were: “The Safety & Security Implications of Drones To Air Transport And Everyday Life,” for Secondary Schools and “Improving Air Transport Connectivity in Africa: Prospects & Challenges,” for Tertiary Institutions.
Following a robust session of oral assessments before a select Panel of Independent Assessors at the second stage in defence of their written entries, the winners for NTEC 2019 emerged. Each of the winners was presented with a copy of the book titled: “The Learned Commander” written by Capt, Dele Ore, which chronicles his life as a pilot and astute aviator.
Also, Sabre Travel Network, a foremost travel technology solutions provider gave out free training scholarships in Ticketing and Reservation to five (5) graduates of tertiary institutions through a raffle draw.
EgyptAir, Africa World Airlines (AWA) and South African Airways (SAA) also provided tickets for free trips of the winners and their parents to inspiring destinations. Aviation agencies equally sponsored the events.