|??Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, chatting with pupils of??St. Bartholomew’s Primary School at the flag raising ceremony. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Young people in Barbados are being encouraged by top officials in the field to explore careers in civil aviation and its related professions.
Speaking on Civil Aviation Day, last Wednesday, December 7, at the official Flag Raising Ceremony, at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA),
Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, said that the focus of the week was to stir an interest in civil aviation as a viable career option for school leavers.
"The civil aviation sector is indeed, a vibrant and exciting industry that allows for rewarding, stimulating and long-term career goals," the Minister told the students in the audience to "look seriously at forming careers within civil aviation" and that it was important to him as the Minister responsible for International Transport to "ensure that the framework is put in place to ensure that persons desirous of finding employment are made fully aware of the opportunities available in this dynamic industry."
He was quick to note that jobs directly in aviation were not the only options, and opportunities were available in areas including air traffic controllers, pilots, flight attendants, engineers, mechanics, security inspectors, careers on the ramp operation and safety oversight inspectors.
The International Transport Minister added that "in this global and competitive world, in order to ensure that we sustain a high standard of service, we have to invest in our young people by providing the necessary training and opportunities for
them, so they too can feel justly proud in contributing to and carrying forward the development of Barbados."
As such, he highlighted the training programmes conducted by the Civil Aviation Department.
For example, he noted, training in areas including Air Traffic Control, Overseas Air Traffic Control, Private Pilot Training and Supervisory Training for government employees such as Customs Officers and Immigration Officers have been offered since 1973 through the Barbados Civil Aviation Training Centre.
The training centre, Mr. Hutson reported, is qualified under the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) TRAINAIR programme, which was established by ICAO "with the goal of improving the safety and efficiency of air transport through standardisation, formulation and maintenance of high standards of training for aviation personally across the globe". He noted that Barbados had the only TRAINAIR Centre in the English speaking Caribbean.
Chief Executive Officer of GAIA Inc., David Barrow also mentioned the importance of investing in young people now, to secure the future of the sector. He said: "You, the children, are the future of this country. Therefore, I want to exhort you to look at what is around you and realise that it was put for you and your legacy…you have to work hard and study. It might not seem to make much sense at the moment, but you have to carry on what you see around you, develop on it and build on it."
Mr. Barrow encouraged students to explore non-aeronautical paths which would fall under the more commercial activities of the GAIA. These included areas such as food and beverage concession, duty-free sales and advertising, which "are very important especially in terms of down times and the depression in the cycle of air travel".