PDP Adds Career Planning for Maintenance Career Development
By Jay Evans
Business aviation has never been better, so it's a great time to establish a career in business aviation maintenance. With great opportunities come great choices. Preparing for these great opportunities is the key to any successful career. With the need for maintenance personnel growing, individuals and flight departments need to plan for these eventualities. This planning can be done by the company and the individual. One way this can come together is through the National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA) Professional Development Program (PDP), which includes the individual completing the course work and the company supporting PDP as a career development and succession tool.
All of aviation is enjoying growth and economic development, but business aviation needs to embrace maintenance career development to ensure we have the right people in place for the future. FAA forecasts indicate general aviation operations to show a 2 percent increase every year for the next 12 years. The overall number of jets will go up by 7 percent as well. This calls for an increased need for highly qualified maintenance managers. With a shortage of maintenance personnel, every flight department faces challenges to maintain their operational tempo. Keeping good people is always tough, and competing for good people for the first time in a long time is another added maintenance challenge. A way for business aviation to continue to attract and hold good people is to offer career opportunities and advancement. Often, good people become frustrated with the lack of advancement or career development opportunities. This leads to job-hopping and a lot of career changes. By outlining a clear career path for the individual maintenance career, the opportunities may seem brighter.
Plotting your course
NBAA PDP offers a road map someone can follow to improve their chances for advancement and improve succession planning for the company. Courses offered in PDP are designed to improve the management potential of an employee. These courses include: Aircraft Selection & Retrofitting, Group Dynamics & Work Team Communications, Flight Department Customer Service, and Interpersonal Communication.
The course titled Aviation Safety and Security outlines procedures and ways of improving operations and creating a safety and security program. Examples include creating a safety committee within the company and logging potential incidents, incidents, and accidents to create a safety culture within the company. Another facet of this course is the creation of an accident response program. All of this can be learned while the individual gets professional development credits for taking PDP courses. The courses are offered primarily by distance education, so you take the course when your schedule best allows participation. By completing these credits, the person is demonstrating initiative and dedication and it is important for the company to recognize the initiative of that person. Now the company has identified professional development and career potential for the individual. Proper recognition can include identifying career path opportunities within the company. The company benefits from keeping a well-motivated employee, and the person benefits from company advancement. Another mutual benefit in the process is that a line of succession is created. People start to be able to plan their careers and see opportunities they are building for themselves and the company. Working through the process together provides mutual benefits for the employer and the employee.
NBAA PDP can fit into the overall management plan of finding good people to develop within one's own maintenance organization. By recruiting early and defining a clear career path that includes professional development, an individual can chart a full career in business aviation. Identifying motivated people who will take the extra effort to complete distance education courses like PDP can be what a maintenance department needs to "grow their own" managers. Defining a career path in corporate aviation may be a key way to keep good people where we need them.
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