On 7 June 2013, the Society’s new group that has come about as a result of the Society’s recent governance changes sat for the first time. The Education and Skills Committee (ESC) will report to the Professional Standards Board (PSB), advising the PSB on those issues relating to education, skills, learning and development, including advising on the careers available within the aeronautics and aviation community and to offer advice to those aspiring to make their careers in this area.

With the Society’s broad range of disciplines and knowledge, as well as dedicated Careers ad Education staff who work with a number of external partners and stakeholders, the committee is one of the first, both at Society and national levels, to bring together a cross-section of aerospace, aviation and skills experts to work together to meet the skills challenges of the 21st Century. Organisations represented include airlines, airports, regulatory, trade association, Sector Skills Councils, aero manufacturers and Government,  and will cover Education and Skills issues across the Society’s footprint including design and manufacture, MRO, aviation operations & management and civil and defence aerospace and space. 

The Society has also tasked the ESC with providing both proactive and reactive input into policy discussions both unilaterally and through pan-institutions groupings such as Education for Engineering (E4E) and the Aerospace Growth Partnership skills groups. The ESC also aims to closely support the skills initiatives envisaged through the recent Employer Ownership Pilot Round 2 bids being led by industry. 

The committee will also collaborate and disseminate at European and international levels through its links with organisations such as CEAS and IPTC. The ESC will also provide an advisory role to the Society’s Careers & Education Department in the activities they undertake which includes the popular Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) website www.careersinaerospace.com (a joint activity between ADS and RAeS), the annual Careers in Aerospace LIVE recruitment fair, the Cool Aeronautics primary school engagement programme, the Ballantyne event, Career Flightpath magazine and attendance at external events, among others. 

ESC Chairman, Simon Witts, FRAeS, says, “We need the best people coming through the system and the right people getting the right jobs. Broadly, although some argue that there is a shortage, the demand is growing and some parts of the sector can be seen as inaccessible. We know from some of the research around the employer ownership of skills bids that some aviation areas find it hard to fill skills shortages (for example: air traffic control that used to get 200 applicants for every job (in certain areas); they now just get five and of those five only two know anything about aviation. Some people in the industry don’t have transferable skills. They have been in the industry for a long time but when it comes to going into another sector they don’t have skills that are recognised by that sector. Also students going to university to obtain degrees that promise to deliver things that don’t get delivered in terms of skills or job entry points. There is also, a growing issue around equality and diversity. Lastly, broadly, there is the perception that not much government funding that has gone directly into aviation programmes. The government feel that they already have a growth sector and don’t see aerospace as part of aviation, or the other way round.” 

Rosalind Azouzi, RAeS Careers and Education Manager, adds, “While we welcome the recent announcements of high levels of investment into aerospace, employers in the aviation sector, including airlines and airports, many of whom are investing heavily into training and skills, feel that their needs may have been missed. The ESC is unique in enabling aviation and aerospace to work more closely with each other and ensure a joined-up approach and clear message to Government of the interdependent nature of each sector and the importance of the success of both sectors to the UK economy and employment.” 

The ESC will launch the Society’s first Education and Skills Conference this October which aims to highlight aerospace and aviation organisations working in this field, draw attention to the issues and concerns and provide a unique networking opportunity for the diverse community involved in outreach, STEM, careers, employability, training and and recruitment activities for the aerospace and aviation sectors. The conference will be followed by a further research paper led by the ESC and is supported through the RAeS Foundation. The ESC Chairman welcomes wider input into this exciting and crucial development and if you or your organisation would like to be involved at operational or strategic level please do get in touch. Details of the Education and Skills Conference will be announced mid-July. 

  Contacts All enquiries to the Chairman should be directed via the Careers and Education Manager: Rosalind Azouzi | E: Rosalind.azouzi@aerosociety.com | T: + 44 (0)20 7670 4325  

Rosalind Azouzi
27 June 2013