Civil Aviation Training Centre, turning out the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals …

During the past two years, the Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC), the training arm of Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, commenced developing curricular for courses targeting the Next Generation of Professionals in the Aviation Industry. The “Diploma in Aviation” was the salient one. Its aim was to develop the younger generation who are enthusiastic about a career in aviation into dynamic, qualified and result oriented professionals for the industry and to enhance their employability.

The CATC has hitherto been focused on the provision of training in highly specialized aviation disciplines such as Air Traffic Control, Avionics Engineering, Aeronautical Communication, Aviation Security, Fire & Rescue and other related areas in Air Navigations and Airport Management mainly for the employees of Airport & Aviation Services and for airport operators in the region. It was at this juncture the company made the land mark decision to expand the programmes of the CATC to cater to the human resource demands of the local aviation industry. The “Diploma in Aviation” particularly targets the middle level executive positions in the non-skill based disciplines in the aviation industry such as Airport Management, Airline Management, Airport & Airline Revenue Management and those in the allied services such as cargo and tourism.

The programme is organized into two courses, namely the “Awareness in the Aviation Industry” and “Alignment with the Aviation Industry”. Sandwiched in between is a familiarization attachment. Entry qualification is G.C.E Advanced level or equivalent. The courses content is a spectacular blend of theory and practice that provide knowledge of the aviation industry in general, airport and airline operations, aviation legislation and allied service operations as well as analytical, managerial and communication skills for the successful students to embark on aviation careers as effective and dynamic professionals. Students must also complete extensive course work and a specified project. Both courses must be successfully completed in order to earn the diploma. The total programme takes approximately six months. Subject matter experts drawn from the industry and eminent higher education institutions supplement the experienced faculty of resource persons of the CATC in delivering the course.

The skill based aviation professions such as flying, air traffic control and aerospace engineering have well established institutions providing avenues for students to develop themselves into those professions. However there are many fields within the aviation industry for which there are no formally established development avenues. These fields too require formal knowledge and skills unique to the aviation industry which are generally provided through on the job training which is costly for the industry. Managerial positions in these fields go to general graduates who undergo further training after recruitment. There is a vacuum in respect of middle level executive positions. A common practice is to employ Advance level qualified youngsters and train them on the job. It is in fact this category that the CATC has targeted through its diploma programme.

Students who successfully complete this programme are readily absorbable to any non-skill based profession in the aviation industry and allied trades requiring minimal further training. They possess sufficient supervisory skills to task manage small homogeneous teams and basic analytical skills to solve day to day operational problems. Further they have been sufficiently inculcated with the attitudes required by aviation professionals such as those concerning safety and contingency.
The first batch of 26 students who enrolled for the first programme in this year is scheduled to pass out in December. That would be the opportunity for the aviation industry to have its middle level human resource requirements fulfilled with minimum in house training resulting in substantial savings for the respective organizations.

“It was a challenging and nevertheless gratifying task to teach the first batch” says Kishantha Nimalaratne, the senior resource person in Air Traffic Services at the CATC who managed the first programme. He adds that the students were very enthusiastic and that novel techniques were employed to keep them focused.

The CATC plans to enroll the next batch soon after the results of this years G.C.E. Advanced Level examination of August 2011 are out. Further details may be obtained by calling +94 11 2634763 or emailing

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