Aviation companies are looking to training to help them get off the ground swiftly and safely postpandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led companies across industries to make tough fiscal decisions. For many, that has meant drastically cutting their training budgets. But that doesn't mean training is no longer important. Aviation companies, for example, see it as an essential component to their short- and long-term recovery plans.
According to the International Airline Training Academy's Workforce Skills Report 2021—which surveyed 804 HR decision makers for L&D representing airline, airport, government and regulatory, ground handling, and travel and tourism companies—70 percent of aviation companies cut their training spending entirely or by at least half. Sixty percent canceled or postponed classroom training. Yet, despite smaller budgets, aviation companies are pursuing three strategic training goals to ensure they can ramp up operations coming out of the pandemic.
First, they are assessing organization-wide training needs. To stay afloat, two-thirds of respondents said determining training priorities was important; 53 percent pointed to defining the right topics and people to train. Aviation employers also identified the five most important skills for employees: technical, such as safety, including sanitation measures to keep staff and customers safe during the pandemic; operations; laws and regulations; soft skills such as management and leadership; and adaptability.
Second, they are shifting in-person training programs online. E-learning leads the way as the top delivery method for the future, with almost three-quarters of companies ranking it first or second, followed by virtual classroom learning, webinars, and virtual reality training. Only 14 percent believed in-person classroom training will be an important method in the years to come.
Third, they are primarily bringing training in-house and using existing resources, including tapping senior employees. Only 17 percent said an immediate priority was outsourcing certain training tasks. Coupled with the digital shift, the adjustment to internal training has led aviation employers to think about their instructors' virtual training skills. In the report, one airport HR decision maker in Europe commented that "The amalgam of training methods has to be changed by enhancing the knowledge and skills of internal instructors in e-learning methodologies and training approaches."