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Within recent decades, large companies have been paying more attention to the need to train their existing and potential workforce extensively, as it is recognized today that proper training is an integral part of successful human resources management. Etihad Airways is one of the prominent companies in the United Arab Emirates in this regard, as in its initiatives to train its personnel and future employees of the company went as far as to establish their own academy (“Train with us,” n.d.), a form of a corporate university, i.e. educational institution and training facility managed by a corporation. Training programs for three particular groups were identified—pilots, cabin crew members, and engineers—and analyzed for their design, evaluation, and possible recommendations.
Training Programs for Pilots
First of all, Etihad commits to training high-quality pilots. In 2013, the company established the Etihad Flight College, the purpose of which, according to the company’s CEO, is to “produce the best pilots to support our rapidly expanding fleet [and] underpin the growth and development of the aviation sector in Abu Dhabi” (“Etihad Airways to establish,” 2014, para. 5). The company extensively employs the most advanced training devices, such as full flight certified simulators for various types of aircraft (“Train with us,” n.d.).
An innovative competency-based training program was developed and introduced by Etihad; known as the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL), the program was adopted by major international aviation agencies (“Etihad Airways to establish,” 2014). The evaluation process in this program heavily relies on simulations, i.e. testing the competencies of a pilot under conditions imitating real ones with maximal accuracy and completeness. This is important because, unlike the work of cabin crew members, the work of a pilot to a larger extent consists in a number of strictly technical skills and abilities, which is why it is insufficient to evaluate the learning outcomes in this training program through tests or classroom sessions; instead, it is recognized that high-quality simulations are necessary.
In terms of recommendations, it can be suggested to Etihad Airways to develop further initiatives instead of collaborating with other organizations for Etihad Airways’ pilot training needs. Hudson (2016) stresses that Etihad Airways’ collaboration with Abu Dhabi University is rather costly, and the company can make training significantly less expensive by promoting professional learning as part of corporate education the company itself provides. This solution requires large investments, but it is assessed that the return will be remarkable, and Etihad Airways will ultimately benefit from training more pilots on the basis of its own facilities.
Training Programs for Cabin Crew Members
It can be argued that the work of cabin crew members is less technical than the work of pilots; however, it should be admitted that aircraft feature specific and elaborate patterns of organization of space, which is why successful operation on a plane requires technical competencies from crew members, too. This is why, apart from simulators for pilots, Etihad Airways training programs also offer simulators for cabin crew members (“Train with us,” n.d.). In these simulators, trainees can learn how to operate doors of various aircraft, how to carry out evacuations, how to behave in emergency situations, how to fight fire in an aircraft, and how to organize space in crew rest compartments.
Therefore, evaluation in these training programs is supported by the trainees’ ability to demonstrate their mastery of particular practical skills. Also, apart from technical skills, a lot of attention in cabin crew training programs is dedicated to customer services. A large portion of crew members’ work is dedicated to communicating with passengers, and it is crucial for a flight attendant to know how to effectively address the needs of passengers. Besides, it should not be neglected that the passengers’ impressions from a flight are largely based on the experiences of dealing with crew members; the latter is the face of an air company, and that is why training programs for them are designed with scrutiny by Etihad Airways.
A possible recommendation for Etihad Airways is to make its cabin crew training programs more available to learners from many countries. Al-Ali and Ahmad (2014) argue that the main purpose of establishing an academy was that Etihad Airways wanted to cut down the cost of educating its employees, but it should be recognized that the potential of the academy is larger than merely providing the company with a new, well-trained workforce. There is potential to train many professionals who will build careers in different companies, thus improving the standards of the entire industry and promoting healthy competition.
Training Programs for Engineers
Etihad Airways is not only part of the passenger air transportation industry; in addition, the company is engaged in professional services by providing aircraft maintenance and engineering solutions to many other companies of the world (“Etihad Airways engineering,” 2016). To perform successfully in the area, the company hires engineers, and within recent years, has also been dedicating particular attention to training engineers. A company manages a technical training facility in Abu Dhabi and provides programs for various types of aircraft. The facility combines different approaches to teaching, including classroom sessions and practical lessons, and adopts innovative learning experience techniques. The practices associated with designing educational courses and evaluation tools in the technical training facility are widely acknowledged; Etihad Airways even provides consulting services to other corporations on how to establish successful training programs.
In terms of assessment and evaluation, they can be challenging when educators adopt innovative learning techniques. In traditional learning patterns, knowledge can be more conveniently assessed, as the necessary tools for this, e.g. tests, already exist. In progressive education, the subject of successful evaluation remains debatable. That is why it is recommended to Etihad Airways to invest in education research as an area that can potentially supply the company with new solutions that will help educate engineers (as well as pilots, cabin crew members, and other employees) more effectively, i.e. more learning outcomes will be achieved, and more efficiently, i.e. more learning outcomes will be achieved with the same input of resources.
In order to improve the effectiveness of their employee training efforts, some companies establish large educational and training facilities. This way, they reduce the costs of educating their existing and prospective employees and ensure that what is learned by such employees is specific to the work they will be required to do. Etihad Airways established several such training programs; particularly, curricula for pilots, cabin crew members, and engineers were developed.
Pilots and cabin crew members are trained with the application of advanced simulators in which their practical skills and technical knowledge can be evaluated. Engineers are trained with a combination of traditional and progressive approaches to learning and educating. Major recommendations for Etihad Airways include further developing their own programs (instead of collaborating with external education institutions), providing its programs to wider groups of students, and investing in education research.
Al-Ali, H. A., & Ahmad, S. Z. (2014). Etihad Airlines: Growth through successful strategic partnerships. Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, 4(5), 1-17.
Etihad Airways engineering. (2016).
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Hudson, M. (2016). Increasing corporate university training options within aerospace. In Conference proceedings: The future of education (pp. 405-410). Limena, Italy: Webster.
Train with us: Etihad Airways training academy. (n.d.)