Aviation: Concern over dearth of skilled manpower

Many professionals who spoke at the Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative Business Breakfast meeting in Lagos at the weekend stated the critical need for prioritising human capital development, stressing its pivotal role in career advancement, stability, safety and efficiency.

The Aviation Professionals advocated a robust strategy to cultivate talent, underscoring its potential to streamline operations and bolster the Nigerian aviation sector.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) recently highlighted the high rate of ageing professionals in the aviation industry and called for the quick implementation of succession plans by young professionals in all areas of the aviation value chain.

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A new army of expatriates has swarmed the industry like locusts, with the attendant huge personnel costs to airlines and effects on the economy through capital flight. Experts posit that the industry will pay a high price unless urgent steps are taken.

This is coming as the aviation regulatory body craved the indulgence of critical stakeholders, either private or public to support any initiative that will provide training and retraining, scholarships, sponsorships, and investment in capacity building.

Manpower development could be ensured via scholarships and sponsorships from organisations and well-meaning individuals, especially to young aviators as this is fundamental to the sector’s sustainable development.

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According to Boeing, Africa faces a shortage of 67,000 pilots, technicians, and cabin crew, deepening existing manpower challenges.

Speaking on the theme: “Manpower Strategy Training, Succession, and Human Capacity Development in the Nigerian Aviation Sector,” the professionals highlighted the pressing issue of replacing retiring personnel with skilled individuals, noting the disconnect between training efforts and employment opportunities.

The presidents, of the Nigeria Air Traffic Controllers Association and the National Association of Aircraft, Pilots, and Engineers, Mr. Yomi Agoro and Mr. Abednego Galadinma underscored the scarcity of controllers and the negative impact of expatriate dominance in the industry.

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Wole Shadare

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