SA aviation skills shortage may get worse in coming years


Even the aviation industry will not be spared by the acute skills shortage whose impact is already been felt in other sectors. Deputy Minister of Transport, Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga, said this during the celebration of International Civil Aviation Day in Kimberley on 7th of December 2014.

In her key note speech during the event, the Minister revealed: “It is estimated that by 2017 more than 40% of the industry professionals will be 55 years of age or older. Considering the anticipated growth and the numbers of professionals that will be retired, there will be an obvious lack of adequately qualified and competent professionals required to effectively run the industry.”

The aviation industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. It has been reported that by 2030 air traffic volume would increase by 50%. At the moment, the aviation industry is dominated by a generation of individuals over the age of 40.

Whilst, to date, the industry has been able to meet the demands of resourcing this steady expansion, the forecasted growth, however, will present a significantly larger resourcing challenge for the industry. The fact that the aviation industry is now competing to attract qualified and skilled personnel with many other interesting and rewarding professions will only worsen matters.

To deal with the problem of skills shortage, Chikunga said government was continuously engaging the aviation industry. Thus far, she revealed, the most vibrant programme was the Joint Aviation Awareness Program, which sees over 30 000 learners in over 200 schools throughout all nine provinces in the country.

“What we do need however, is a follow through strategy such as funding,” she said.

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