Recently, a team from Marshall Skills Academy attended the World Aviation Training Summit (WATS 2022) in Orlando, Florida. The event took place over four days with networking, conference sessions and an exhibition. The primary aim for attending was to gain greater insight into industry trends, challenges, best practice, and emerging training technologies. The team found their time at WATS extremely valuable and therefore wanted to share some of their key takeaways.
The importance of maintaining the aircraft maintenance workforce
There is a clear need to protect the current demographic of the aircraft maintenance industry as the pandemic has increased attrition from the industry worldwide with many professionals later in their careers choosing to retire rather than wait for the industry to recover. The team attended a fantastic talk by Steve Platt (Hawaiian Airlines) who highlighted a poignant message that we as trainers are responsible to help professionals in the industry develop practical change management and change resilience skills. Marshall Skills Academy have responded to this by renewing its focus on its bitesize offering focused on helping our customers embrace change.
Stop using tokenism in the promotion of diversity
Tammera L. Holmes (Aerostar Avion Institute) led an engaging talk with a hard-hitting message that the industry must stop using tokenism in its promotion of diversity. We need collectively, as an industry, to move towards sharing genuine representation to help tap into a large pool of potential talent. A talent pool that is desperately needed to help meet the huge demand for skilled aircraft maintenance engineers. Even with the impact of the pandemic, Airbus predicts that over 700,000 new engineers are needed by 2040 to keep the world’s fleet flying safely. Genuine representation will positively influence how relatable and accessible the industry feels. Furthermore, this not just about influencing the potential talent but also capturing those that influence them, family, and teachers etc., as these individuals have tremendous influence over their future career decisions.
Embracing new and overlooked tools for training and assessing competency
In terms of techniques and technology that stood out to the team, they were most impressed with the offering of dynamic schematics and live (dummy) aircraft systems for example a fully functioning FMS (Flight Management System) that can be used to practice in accordance with an Aircraft Maintenance Manual, providing context to learning.
It is also important to consider the learning that is required and what the most appropriate method is. The use of technology needs careful consideration to determine whether it augments more traditional learning or replaces it and how it meets the needs of individual learning styles. There will always be a place for a pen and paper!
Safety and organisational consultant, Angeline Ram spoke about the impact of behaviours on safety in aviation and strongly advocated a tool that was introduced to the industry in the late 1990’s called NOTECHs Assessment. This tool provides a great way to assess behaviours and Marshall Skills Academy will spend some time learning more about these tools and the value they can potentially add to our learners, customers, and us as a training provider.