The aviation industry is one of the most important in modern society. It plays a crucial role in transhipping cargo, and tourism. But, it is also facing tough challenges. These include a high demand for qualified professionals, and the reshaping of skill sets needed in today’s technologically advanced aircraft.
Many aviation students and professionals would like to expand their career opportunities. This is particularly true for final year students, who are eager to seek new employment opportunities, but are uncertain about their choices. They worry they lack non-technical skills, or are unwilling to take on certain jobs.
A study conducted in Hong Kong suggests that there are several career impediments for aviation students. However, it also identifies some key factors that can help them better prepare for careers in aviation.
The first of these is the professionalism of the job. Aviation graduates are expected to be able to earn a good salary. Students also need to make sure that their degree is up to date, and that they have the necessary experience. If they have international work experience, they may want to acquire internationally recognised aircraft maintenance licenses. In addition, it is a good idea to find out more about airline operations. That way, they can smooth their transition into the industry.
While the technical skills required by the industry are valuable, they are useless in other industries. For example, a pilot will need a commercial pilot’s license and an FAA engine mechanic license. Flight instructors can also be employed to teach others how to fly.
Finally, the public emphasises soft skills, such as leadership, organisational management, and customer service. The aviation industry is open to people with diverse backgrounds and skills. Some individuals might choose to focus on the more traditional aspects of aviation, such as flight planning, while others may pursue more innovative and exciting occupations.
While most students do not have financial impediments, there are still external obstacles to their studies. For example, Hong Kong airlines have experienced a reduction in headcount in the past few years, which has made it difficult for them to recruit new staff. And, many aviation companies have suspended the recruitment process due to financial stress.
Another challenge to students’ careers in the aviation industry is the difficulty of obtaining a degree in aviation sciences. While a pilot can obtain a pilot’s license, it takes many years to complete a specialised course. Similarly, an aeronautical engineer or a mechanical engineer will need to study physics, fluids and aerodynamics.
Overall, the study shows that aviation students face several career impediments, including external and personal barriers, and also have to deal with the pandemic. The most effective response to these impediments is to strengthen student opportunities to gain industrial exposure, as well as to enhance scholarships to encourage students to pursue aviation-related degrees.
Finally, if the government can extend an anti-epidemic fund to aviation students and practitioners, it could boost their confidence and reassure them that they can continue to pursue their career dreams. Such support could also facilitate the development of evidence-based policies to address these insecurities.