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Opportunity Issue 102

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

AVIATION

AVIATION _________________ There is a great deal of talent in our country that needs to be nurtured to build a pipeline of aviation specialists for the future. ________________ What advances have been made regarding the role of women in the aviation industry? The ResearchGate report on “Women in Aviation: A Workforce Report 2021” by Rebecca Lutte, indicated that less than 20% of most aviation occupations in the United States were held by women, with the largest gender gaps being maintenance technicians, pilots and in senior leadership positions. Globally, air traffic management is generally dominated by men, and research also shows that mechanics are overwhelmingly men, while the majority of cabin crew are women. This is according to the working paper “Women in Aviation” by David Seligson (quality jobs, attraction and retention) by the Sectoral Policies Department, International Labour Organization, Geneva, 2019. As of 31 July 2021, the South African licence statistics revealed that women are still lagging far behind men in the civil aviation space. There were 2 384 male airline transport pilots of aeroplanes and 190 females. This means that about 93% of airline pilots were male and 7% were female. In terms of helicopters, 94% of airline helicopter pilots were male and 6% were female. In an initiative pitched by the SACAA, the organisation joined hands with the ICAO to host the first-ever Global Aviation Gender Summit. The initiative was supported by the South African government, through the Department of Transport, and took place from 8 to 10 August 2018 in Cape Town. The event was also supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Women. The Summit participants came together to advocate for gender equality in the global aviation sector and to better understand the gender divide in this highly specialised field of work. It urged countries and the aviation industry to demonstrate strong, determined leadership as well as commitment to gender equality in aviation and to mobilising the global aviation community. It also identified concrete actions that can be taken to accelerate gender equality in aviation and partnership promotion among stakeholders to implement these actions. There has been progress since the Summit (which was attended by more than 500 delegates from all over the world). The SACAA followed up on the conclusions reached during the engagement by hosting two national gender summits, with the first taking place in 2019, where the Minister of Transport, Hon. Mbalula, and the then Deputy Minister, Hon. Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, led captains of industry in signing a pledge to support women advancement programmes in their respective business areas. What role is the SACAA playing? For some years, the SACAA, together with aviation stakeholders, has endeavoured to bring about meaningful change in the transformation of the industry by demystifying aviation to learners. The emphasis has especially been on remote rural areas, where previously disadvantaged communities can benefit the most. Sharing information about careers in aviation is vital in assisting learners to make informed decisions about their future. This has been done through initiatives such as the Career Awareness Day and exhibitions that showcase aviation careers, often supported with exciting activities such as air shows, to stimulate their interest. Where the COVID-19 pandemic hindered such physical outreaches, the medium of the radio was used extensively. Safety guidelines for events such as the Aeroclub Airweek held in Middelburg are set by the SACAA. Credit: www.pilotspost.com Are there mentors for young people interested in aviation? The SACAA launched a formal Women Mentorship Programme dedicated to addressing the development of women within the 42 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

AVIATION Credit: Shtefan Lounge on Unsplash organisation. This falls within the broad mentorship programme, under the Talent Management Framework led by the Human Resources team. The programme has created a platform where mentees are paired with mentors and group mentorship sessions will also be undertaken to ensure inclusion. The purpose of the programme is to build a strong female talent pool of capable and ready women in both technical and support functions within the organisation. Career advice, honest feedback and an expectation of accountability will lead to greater career confidence in mentees. Additionally, mentors will gain improved career satisfaction. the efforts of those who provide funding to pilots up to the Commercial Pilot Licences. There is a great deal of talent in our country that needs to be nurtured to build a pipeline of aviation specialists for the future. It is very important for young pilots to have the necessary flight hours required to develop their piloting skills and stand the chance to obtain permanent employment. The SACAA appeals to all operators to consider enabling those cadets who have qualified to build their hours and to gain experience. How important are hours for young pilots trying to develop, and who can help them get those hours? Building flight hours is a very expensive exercise for all pilots and for funders equally. Opportunities to build hours are therefore very scarce and many pilots pursue instructor work to meet this challenge. The challenge of the accessing funding for those who are pursuing their pilot careers is an affordability nightmare. The industry must come up with a strategy that will augment SACAA contact details Physical address: Ikhaya Lokundiza, Building 16, Treur Close, Waterfall Park, Bekker Street, Midrand Postal address: Private Bag X 73, Halfway House 1685 Tel: +27 11 454 1000 Email: mail@caa.co.za Web: www.caa.co.za www.opportunityonline.co.za | 43

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