Education, continuing education, and lifelong learning are not only a precept of the new code of conduct (released this summer, see AMTonline.com, News, July 17, 2009) but also a pragmatic method for job security in the future.
Knowing that it is not possible to have knowledge and skill in every aspect of aviation maintenance for every airplanereinforces the idea of continual improvement of skills and constant learning. These concepts are often referred to as lifelong learning and continuing education.
Lifelong learning and continuing education comes in many forms including:
- Trade associations, i.e., AMTSociety, NBAA, NATA
- Community college
- Local or branch campuses of colleges and universities
- Online learning
- Manufacturer-supplied training
- Other professional associations
- Seminar providers of general management/supervisory skills
In an article this author wrote for AMT in August 2001 see Article Archives on www.amtonline.com, “What’s Your Hiring Potential.” It included 10 Steps to Career Success. Two included training and learning new skills. “Learn outside skills. Enroll in a community college and take a course on learning how to write. Fearful of speaking in public? Go to the local night class and overcome your fear. Seventy-one percent of U.S. citizens are afraid to speak in public. People who are promoted usually have learned how to express themselves to others and their employers. Become a lifetime learner – not only in your profession, but in your personal life as well.”
The soft, the hard, and the ugly
Education may be divided into two categories often called the soft skills and the hard skills.
The soft skills are often called the people skills and the interactions with others. These include how to encourage, supervise, and motivate others through your direction or action. Organizations frequently promote individuals with good soft skills, and everyone can improve their soft skills by reading or taking a course on one of the basic soft skills.
Public speaking, effective listening, problem resolution, and human factors are currently high on the list of preferred skills for promotion of employees as well as new hires.
Many outside organizations, i.e., Dale Carnegie can assist you in communicating better as well as improve the possibility for movement up the mythical job ladder. Dale Carnegie
training assists in overcoming the fear of public speaking.
Many organizations require the act of making presentations as a condition of leadership to be promoted to supervisor or beyond the shop floor. Therefore, if you can express yourself clearly, calmly, and confidently you are one step above all those who cannot. Many community colleges offer similar Public Speaking 101 or Fear of Public Speakingcourses at very reasonable prices.
Many employers will offer full to partial tuition reimbursement for coursework to improve your status as an employee. Check with your human relations/personnel office for the company policy. Some schools offer discounts to employees of certain companies.
Tracking your progress or just one fuel tank!
One easy method to ensure your training history is recorded is by keeping multiple copies of certificates or grades earned. Today, three simple and inexpensive methods exist to track your education progress. As years go on it is easy to forget a special or one-time program you attended.
- Copy training certificates and grade reports and place in folder in one location.
- Keep originals in notebook with acetate pages from an office store in your home.
- Scan the documents and keep in folder in your web-based email system.
In the event of a disaster or tragedy, you always have a backup system and isn’t redundancy what aviation is all about. How many planes have just one fuel tank?
As a lifelong learner it is a great review and learning reminder to page through the past education experiences to appreciate what you have learned.
As an A&P's career path takes many twists and turns, continued efforts in developing your professional and personal skills will increase your employability in the eyes of hiring managers.