CAPTAIN Horace Millar-Jaja (Retd) has said the lapses of government to grow aviators to replace the aging and out going crop of professionals in the industry has led to a serious dearth in professional aviators.
This is just as participants of the 5th Explore Aviation Careers Conference went home with scholarships from a raffle draw as part of the highlight of the programme which aims at encouraging young enthusiasts to delve proper into the aviation industry.
The participants won the scholarships in 3 Master Classes (Customer Service & Tour Packaging Master Class) and 3 Regular courses Air Ticketing & Reservation & Travel & Tourism Management) from Aeroport College of Aviation and Training Management include Akpan Malachi, Benjamin Thomas Mallams, Joy Ekpejor, Olisa Preciois, Obi-Anayo Emmanuella as well as Rabiu Kolawole Eniola.
The participants earlier submitted their phone numbers which was used to perform the raffle draw from whence the scholarships came.
Speaking on the Scholarship, Convener of Aviation Careers Conference and founder MamaJ Aviation Consult, Joy Ogbebo who spoke on the impact of the scholarship to the participants said it was key because aviation was cost intensive and most of the students cannot afford it without some form of help.
She said,” The scholarship would really go a long way because if you look at the aviation industry one of the main constraint of manpower development is finance. So if they have access to scholarship which the government, airlines, corporate organizations can help with to build capacity, it would help to motivate and inspire a lot of them. Some of them are truly committed but the finances are not there and so the scholarship helps.
” Government can also be involved in subsidizing pilots and engineer fees because not everyone can afford that N7.5m, If airlines are saying lets do one pilot each a year, they will have like 10 pilots every year improving the professional base. Captain Jaja just retired and you start asking who are the professionals that will fall into their shoes?
” Even those that train on many occasions are told they do not have the required man-hours, so how can you harness their potential,” she queried.
Meanwhile, Captain Jaja who recently retired after 40 years of flying, said entry into the profession over the years has not been commensurate with the exit
He said,”Over the years, we were in a position where we build another foundation to enhance the entry point of the new generation. How can this be achieved? I feel the regulator or civil aviation authority should be able to say, first you must bring x number of pilot and engineers this year, a mandatory requirement for the development of the industry that, in my opinion, has not been achieved.
“The whole idea is to protect the industry, is to have indigents fly your carriers, your private airlines, your national airline or even in the government sector because the expatriates that came here, they have nothing invested here, they are not citizens here, they only come here to work. I have the opportunity where I worked abroad, but it was always there that i was there to fill a gap and once, indigents come in you’d go. Sadly, we don’t have that kind of policy. There was an airline that preferred to hire majority of them foreigners which was an obstacle for the development of Nigerians in that airline.
“As you know the cost of training be it For pilots and engineers, is beyond the expenditure of most families so you do need sponsorship.”