The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has highlighted the high rate of aging 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.
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. Unless urgent steps are taken, experts posit, the industry will pay a high price.
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.
Director General NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, made this known at the 6th Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Conference in Lagos with the theme: ‘Empowering the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Through Scholarships and Sponsorships.’
The DG, represented by the Director, of Human Resources and Administration, Alhaji Adamu Wakili, noted that there was a growing demand for the training and grooming of a large workforce of young men and women in all sectors of commercial aviation because of the growth and increase in passenger traffic, cargo and airports around the country.
He said: ”Generally, the global aviation sector is growing fast, aeroplanes are becoming bigger, flying faster and reducing travel time, there is the mass movement of passengers and cargo within the orbit.
”Airports are becoming larger and more complex, handling millions of passengers per annum, while meeting security challenges.” He further noted that while the demand for technical skills is persistent in aircraft maintenance, flight operations, air traffic control, airport maintenance, and management, achieving the goal of sufficient, skilled, and efficiently trained manpower would require a sustained synergy and partnership among critical stakeholders.
Nuhu stressed that 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 sustainable development of the sector.
“I, therefore, crave the indulgence of every critical stakeholder present, either private or public to support any initiative that will promote the sustainable development of the aviation industry either through training and retraining, scholarships, sponsorships, investment in aviation infrastructure, among others,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the NCAA would continue to spearhead the formulation of relevant and proactive regulations for the economic development of the sector while also progressively strengthening its oversight responsibilities to entrench safe and secured air transportation in Nigeria.
The NCAA boss equally commended MamaJ Aviation Consult for consistently promoting human capacity development and encouraging the youths to take up careers in aviation to help bridge the manpower gap in the industry.
He said: “This conference is timely as it tends to address, introduce and mentor young Nigerians that are desirous and passionate to join the aviation industry, taking into account the urgent need for more fresh hands in the aviation sector and invariably closing the gap created by the aging workforce to further develop and ensure succession plans for others to grow and take over.”
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika recently alluded that the aviation sector in Nigeria was plagued by a dearth of skilled professionals and an aging workforce. He said: “Our intervention strategy is to put efforts in place to set up an aerospace university.
The university will specifically produce the needed workforce for better efficiency. Another way to achieve this is with technical and management support from the International Civil Aviation Organisation and some donor nations. This will help us leverage the capacity of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology as an ICAO regional training centre.”