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Incentivise apprenticeships to fix engineering shortages, says RAAA

written by Jasmine Siljic | October 17, 2022

Aviation Australia provides a number of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (EASA) courses.

The Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) has urged state and federal governments to incentivise maintenance organisations to employ more engineering apprentices.

The recommendation is one of seven made in its new report aimed at alleviating the “critical shortage” of talent in the industry.

Its paper, which you can read here, also argues for the creation of a ‘national aviation academy’ to eliminate training disparities between states and territories while urging CASA to recognise international licences better to speed up migration.

RAAA CEO Steven Campbell said, “All aviation sectors are affected by this shortage on a daily basis; we just need to look at increasing flight delays and flight cancellations.

“Our regional areas are particularly affected, remote communities and businesses could lose access to basic air services, which are vital for connectivity, medical and mail services.


“The author of the report, Sheridan Austin, has years of experience in this field and has consulted with other industry experts to not only understand how we got here but to also put forward tangible solutions that will seek to address the shortages going forward.”

Alongside their solutions, the RAAA’s report outlined key industry issues that have led to these staff shortages.

Apprentice intake of aviation engineers has plummeted from 297 per year in 2016/2017 to 135 per year in 2020/2021, according to CASA annual reports.

The RAAA attributes this significant decrease to changes in CASA’s accreditation system.

Prior to 2011, apprentices were granted their aircraft engineer licence four years after commencing their apprenticeship.

The pathway then transitioned to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency licensing system in 2011.

Consequently, this required apprentices to complete additional certificates to become officially licensed.

“It is widely accepted that the decline in apprenticeship employment numbers began at this time,” the report stated.

“If we do not address this immediately, the continuing airworthiness of the Australian aircraft fleet will be significantly compromised,” commented the RAAA.

Author Austin said a “myriad of reasons” were behind the decline of aircraft engineers becoming qualified each year.

“What is apparent is that we need to ‘grow our own’ engineers for long-term stability, but we need skilled migration of experienced engineers as soon as possible with immediate recognition of those skills by our regulator CASA,” Austin said.

“Education is key for the longevity of the sector as well. The aviation industry must work with the government to promote aircraft engineering as an exciting and rewarding career.”

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