FINN talks to CAE’s Nick Leontidis about attracting the next generation of pilots.

According to CAE, 300,000 pilots will be required in the civil aviation industry over the next decade.

Nick Leontidis, Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions, CAE, told FINN: “There are two areas where the industry can converge to try to help that.”

Money talks

“One is financing,” Leontidis said. “We need better financing solutions for these young people. [Training] is a lot of money and not everybody can afford to take on [pilot] training.”

He noted that alongside innovative financing tools, new technologies can also bring the cost of training down.

He explained: “Simulation is the best way to learn the skills in this profession and we are always looking at ways to make things more effective and more efficient. The industry needs to use data as a way of providing intelligent changes to the training solution so that things can be elevated and not degraded. We think data and digital solutions are going to be the way to make training more effective for the future.”

Female pilots

The second area that needs attention is diversity, Leontidis said.

“We need to open the pool,” he commented. “50% of the population are women but only 5% of the population of pilots are women. When you compare that to other industries – lawyers, physicians, surgeons – this profession is well behind. So we need to open that up.”

Leontidis said role models will be key to this.

Our Women In Flight [scholarship] programme will create five role models for young girls,” he said.

“We’re going to follow these girls over the next two to three years. They’ll post their experience on social media, and we’re hoping that other girls will look at that and say: ‘Hey, I want to try that. That looks like a great career for me’. And  we think that will snowball and flourish into something more material.”

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