Category Archives: Aviation

Aviation and maritime careers for youth

Previously, to become a sailor or pilot meant you encountered possible danger just about every day and had the prospect to discover new worlds and receive praise and admiration. In the present day, a fewer number of students are considering taking to the seas or the air which in turn has resulted in a shortage of pilots and sailors in South Africa.

As part of a strategy to deal with this predicament, over 200 young adults have been asked to participate in an information sharing session organised by the Eastern Cape Department of Transport (ECDoT) at the province’s Bhisho Airport in late April.

The function was in fact intended to promote the students, the vast majority of were university students coming from institutes all around the Eastern Cape, to register for learnerships within the aviation and maritime market sectors.

The program was arranged together with the South African Maritime Safety Association (Samsa), training company Mtha Aviation and local airline SA Express.

As reported by ECDoT’s communications manager Ncedo Kumbaca, the department focused on previously disadvantaged matriculants and students who had been uninformed of the possibilities existing in maritime and aviation.

“Young people coming from rural areas really need to be educated about these types of industries,” he said, adding that ECDoT in addition wanted to educate the students on the complicated requirements intended to ensure a successful application.

“Many believe a distinction is sufficient to obtain a learnership however it is not,” he said.

Maths and science essential

At a Maritime Day function organised in East London last year, Samsa’s CE Tsietsie Mokhele expressed concern with regards to the immediate need to develop the sector. He specifically talked about South Africa’s inadequate contribution to the international maritime industry.

At the same function Mahlubandile Qwase, then the Eastern Cape’s MEC of education, credited this deficiency of global presence to the inadequate maritime education in coastal areas of the country. He stated there presently exists three ports in the Eastern Cape however, not a single maritime school.

Kumbaca revealed that an additional factor is the numerous high school learners who discontinue maths and science, subjects that happen to be essential in kick-starting a career in maritime or aviation.For this reason, he explained, the two industries continue to be by far the most untransformed in the country.

In spite of this, to counter this unsatisfactory scenario, representatives from ECDoT have been on an awareness campaign since 2010, and intend to visit a total of 60 schools to inform learners on seafaring and piloting.

These kinds of drives are most likely not necessary in the future. As outlined by Qwase, programs happen to be set up to create a maritime school in the province this year.

“By 2015, we are going to have fully fledged maritime high schools and 300 graduates,” he explained.

Developing the aviation and maritime industries

Kumbaca said Samsa was in fact offering 100 learnerships within the maritime industry, at the same time an unspecified number of learnerships in the aviation industry were to be selected by SA Express.

Students had the choice of enrolling for one of three programmes that were made available on the day.

Mechanical engineering students who had a diploma, had dropped out of their studies, or previously had studied the theory of mechanical engineering, were redirected towards the maritime learnerships.

Students who have passed grade 12 with no less than a D average or even a level five in maths, happen to be medically fit, over the age of 16 together with no criminal record, were registered as prospective pilots into the Aviation Learner Training Programme.

Female students with a high school pass of at least a D average or a level five in maths and science, together with a passion for aviation, ended up being persuaded to register for the ladies-only Cadet Pilot Programme.



More pilots to be trained for Africa

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele

A new crop of aviation workers for South Africa and the continent will be trained, thanks to an agreement between the Department of Transport and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The agreement – signed on Friday by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele and ICAO Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin in Montreal, Canada – is expected to produce much-needed new pilots, aircraft engineers, air navigation officers and all related aviation sector workers.

ICAO Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin

“It would also ensure that the training provided augments South Africa’s capabilities in building skills in Aviation Disciplines, which are conducive to the promotion of the safety, security and development of civil aviation. The training centres will, after completion of each training programme, file course reports to South Africa and to ICAO,” said Benjamin.

ICAO and the department have agreed to jointly develop and implement an aviation training plan for South Africa, which would be implemented from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2015.

Ndebele said South Africa would pay for travel and the local expenses, including the training and course fees, living allowances and accommodation for the selected candidates. ICAO would provide the technical and expert support.

He said the agreement would benefit Africa and was important to economic development.

“Aviation in Africa or anywhere else cannot be developed in isolation from other regions. We are therefore called upon to provide and maintain world-class standards at every turn.

“We are here to promote Africa’s role as an integral part of the governance of aviation worldwide. We are already become global competitors, while our airport infrastructure meets the economic growth and socio-economic goals of our country and continent,” said Ndebele.

He welcomed the agreement, especially in light of October being Transport Month in South Africa.

Ndebele is part of a South African delegation to the 37th Assembly of ICAO being held in Montreal. He added how proud he was that South Africa was re-elected for a third term onto the ICAO Council.

Source: BuaNews,,,