SACAA Cadet Pilot Training Programme
Press release by SACAA The aviation industry the world over is plagued by the crisis of technical skills shortage. With the advent of technology as an enabler of aviation infrastructure, the need for qualified and relevant technical skills is becoming more critical.
Transformation of the civil aviation industry is one of the strategic goals of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). To this end, the SACAA launched a cadet scheme specifically aimed at growing the number of previously disadvantaged young people entering this space. A bursary scheme has been established whose first intake was in January 2012. Three black women pilots and 1 black woman Air Traffic Controller are currently undergoing training. These learners are performing quite well in their chosen areas of study. The selection process for the second intake is already underway. We expect the number of intakes to grow as funds become available. Currently the funding is made available through the discretionary grants from TETA and the SACAA budget.
The latest audited civil aviation statistics reveal that out of a total of 26 022 aviation personnel licence holders only 2776 are African, 670 are Colored, 553 are Indian whilst 17 346 are White. From these numbers only 1668 are African women, 383 are Colored women, 238 are Indian women and 2169 are White women. Numbers don’t lie and as evidenced by these figures, we have a lot of work to do. Therefore the SACAA is intensifying its efforts of increasing these numbers to reflect the demographics of the country by creating its own pipeline of pilots, flight engineers and ATC’s.
Although there are efforts by individual organizations and airlines to address transformation challenges, this is not happening at a fast enough pace and the gap is either standing still or moving very slowly. We are also well aware that this is not nearly enough and we need the help of private institutions to augment the efforts of government institutions by producing more black qualified pilots, flight engineers and ATC’s.
On 3 October 2012, ETV Sunrise did a live broadcast from Grand Central Airport with guest speakers Minister of Transport , Hon. Benedict Dikobe Martins, Mr Zakhele Thwala, Director of Civil Aviation Authority, South African National Woman in Transport (SANWIT) - Ms Maria Raoleka, South African Woman in Aviation (SAWIA) – Ms Fundi Sithebe (Pilot and SAWIA Business development manager), Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) – Mr Simon Ndukwana, CEO, Cadets (Faith Mhlambi, Naome Phetoe & Zandile Ndlela) and former Cadets (Khosini Ngobese & Thandeka Mndebele). Topical issues were discussed and the announcement of the cadet pilot programme was made.
It was on this occasion that the Director of Civil Aviation Authority introduced SACAA Cadet Pilot Program, an initiative supported by the Department of Transport. “There cannot be any compromise on fulfilling the national mandate of transformation and development in the SACAA and industry. Seeing the transformative agenda and objectives realized is priority”, said Thwala during the morning’s proceedings.
The Directors commitment to the scheme is obvious and the industry and public will be watching progress eagerly. Considering the high level of its support, its success is inevitable!