EBACE2024 Panel Shares Tips on Drawing Young People to Bizav

30 May 2024

EBACE2024 Session: Forging Connections Between Tomorrow’s Talent and Today’s Industry Leaders

In an engaging and insightful discussion, students and young professionals sat down with aviation leaders at the 2024 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2024) to share their views on how to attract more young people to the industry.

Participants in the panel, titled, “Forging Connections Between Tomorrow’s Talent and Today’s Industry Leaders,” discussed a wide range of ideas including reaching out to local high schools and universities, offering students internships and mentoring and giving young professionals unique access to high-level meetings and conferences.

“Maybe high schools can be useful to have orientation days or invite aviation professionals to come to a high school and explain their work – pilots, yes, but also salespeople and lawyers,” said Camilla Chetioui, an intern at the International Air Transport Association.

SaxonAir CEO Alex Durand – an advocate for getting young people involved in business aviation – said his company has been holding skills boot camps for people that are unemployed. “And we then take some of those on to work in our handling department,” Durand said. “We’ve also started doing Saturday morning STEM workshops and that’s what becomes a virtuous circle. You realize there’s so much more you can give to the community, and they give back.”

“That bridge between the industry and young professionals and students has to be built,” said moderator Cate Brancart, director, European safety and sustainability development at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Workforce Challenges

In many ways it’s a good time to be a young professional seeking a job in business aviation. Not only is the industry experiencing a shortage of pilots, maintenance technicians and other roles, but projected growth of the sector in the next few years is expected to make an already competitive hiring landscape even more favorable to job seekers.

In fact, a 2023 CAE study projects some 106,000 new business aviation professionals will be needed worldwide by 2032 to meet estimated growth, including 32,000 additional pilots and 74,000 new aviation maintenance technicians. Competing against other aviation sectors, including airlines, to hire and train enough qualified, young professionals to meet these numbers will be a daunting task. So, for many hiring managers, being able to connect, communicate and win over younger professionals will be more critical than ever to maintaining enough qualified staff to conduct safe and effective operations.

Advice for Job Seekers

The young professionals on the panel also offered a bit of advice for others like themselves who may be interested in pursuing careers in business aviation.

“Being part of an association such as Women in Aviation is really helpful and having a mentor who can help with career development work and give you support,” said Chetioui. “Women’s organizations are something that are really important today. We need to be inclusive.”

“Take coffees,” said Lavdrim Ametovic, a young engineer at Jet Aviation. “I know that may sound simple, but show genuine interest in people. Be curious. It’s so important to want to understand the global picture of the company and what’s happening. I took many coffees with a lot of vice presidents of companies just because I wanted to know more about their daily missions and what were the challenges they were facing for my own understanding.”

“If you have contacts – they could be in your family or other people – you shouldn’t be ashamed of using those assets,” said Pauline Aguettant, a recent college graduate, now an administrative coordinator at the Malta Business Aviation Association. “You have to fulfill yourself and to be able to go for it and learn as much as you can from the people who are close to you.”

Durand is fully committed to the mission and encourages other business aviation operators to follow suit. “We have to be open minded,” he said. “Don’t find the reasons that you can’t. Find the reason that you can. Respect the fact that what we’re doing is trying to find the people with the spark – that just have a hunger for aviation.”