GREEN Africa Airways today launched an initiative ‘g-Future’ that is set increase human capacity in the aviation industry with a plan to train no fewer than 1,440 aviation professionals in the next decade.
The airline made this known in its headquarters today stressing that it will be developing and harnessing talents of Nigerians to build the nation’s manpower for the future with plans for 200 pilots, 500 crew as well as 500 other professionals etc.
There is a glut of manpower as a lot of airlines refuse to employ, mentor and train professionals since the demise of the national carrier Nigeria Airways for fear of poaching from other airlines coupled with the gap left in the training of professionals at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology ( NCAT), Green Africa recognises this gap and has said the airline is working to bridge it.
According to the airline Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Babawande Afolabi the plan to train manpower is not a one off thing that will end after the 10 year period but something that will stretch on and create a solid base for the industry to transit the way it should.
He said,”Over the next decade, we are planning to graduate about 200 Captains, about a 140 flight dispatchers, about 500 cabin crew, about 100 engineers and about 500 other professionals. When we say other professionals, some people think of our training programme for pilots and engineers but there is a whole lot more within the aviation business, so you have network planning, aviation and aircraft financing, so you see other areas where the 500 can attract.
“And we said 10 years this is not just going to be a 10 year run…So when we say 200 in 10 years we already have a view as to where we would be in 12 months, 18months etc. When we approach three years then already we are looking at the next 10 years.”
He said the programme had started already and would get four young pilots type-rated every month with a view to grow them to becoming captains in four or five years.
He also hinted that 8 second officers are doing their MCC training in Zaria from March 9, cabin crew that are on ab initio training already and 10 technicians too were training to become engineers but stressed it is a gradual journey and would take time and finance.
On how to keep trained professionals from being poached, Babawande said the idea was not to keep or slave anyone but to provide that pool.
He said, “There is a shortage and the more folks that we train, the more easier it is to have manpower and that is part of the key objective. My fundamental believe though is that the fear of someone leaving should not hold us back from training.
“If there is going to be a bond there will be a bond in place. Tell someone you need to work for two years or three years but the philosophy of the bond is going to be different so of you have a bond that would be amortized over a particular period of time and if for whatever reasons an opportunity comes up and someone needs to leave it will be negotiated but it’s not gonna be a case where you have a bond and make the person a slave. We will go into contractual agreement that Green Africa spent this amount of money to train you and you need to work for Green Africa for this time.
“Now my hope is that actually we can get to a certain scale like it is done in other parts of the world where someone comes in and says: I like this platform, I’d like to join this platform and I’m willing to pay for all my training so tell me how much I am to pay. There is a module for that, we are not doing that yet but there is a module across the globe.”
Represented Director of Airworthiness Standard and Chairman Flight Safety Group, Engineer Kayode Ajiboye commended Green Africa for the initiative stressing that only by developing local content can airlines survive longer than five years in Nigeria.
He also acknowledged the capital intensive nature of training while touching on some of the challenges that would be faced during the cause of this venture but stressed that it is no discouragement as even the NCAA faces a similar challenge with training people who would leave for greener pastures despite how expensive it is.
He however encouraged the investor ( Babawande) that they can select the right persons for training and provide the right incentives to retain those they have trained to build their dreams.