In an effort aimed at educating and preparing future leaders on responsibilities that will contribute to the wellbeing of the aviation industry and society at large, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched an environmental sustainability training program in conjunction with its long-standing academic partner, the University of Geneva (UNIGE).
The social component of the program is focused on ensuring that employees can obtain the necessary fundamental technical and operational skills as well as soft skills.
With the increasing focus on aviation and the environment, the programme is built according to the needs of the industry so that managers and business leaders will be better prepared to tackle tomorrow’s demands in ensuring environmental sustainability.
The IATA – UNIGE Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Environmental Sustainability in Aviation consists of six modules which will help aviation professionals understand how to lead, make decisions responsibly, and avoid ethical blindness.
It covers the following topics: Design a Sustainability Strategy, Environmental Management Systems in Aviation, Responsible Leadership, Sustainable Aviation Fuels, Corporate Social Responsibility and Organizational Ethics,Carbon Markets and Aviation.
It has been learnt that while sustainability has played an important role in the industry for many years, it is a key priority as the sector rebuilds from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as in a recent survey of more than 800 industry training professionals, sustainability was identified as a top training need.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh said they were making concerted efforts to make sure that operations become more sustainable whilst recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic therefore, the various modules have been designed to illustrate how both individual actions and overall company policies effect sustainability.
He indicated that participants will learn to identify a set of measures which can be implemented to improve sustainability in the short, medium, and long-term.
The program also blends the environmental specific courses with corporate social responsibility, organizational ethics and responsible leadership, with the aim of allowing participants to find their own answers to what ‘leading responsibly’ means at their individual workplace and how to engage in responsible decision making and avoid ethical blindness.
“The aviation workforce is highly skilled as it needs to work to and comply with many global and industry standards. Over the years we have been adapting our training offer to meet the changing requirements of the industry. Hence it should come as no surprise that we are now adding environmental sustainability training to our curriculum.
“Ensuring that all those working in this industry are given the opportunity to acquire these new skillsets is essential, as we increasingly place more emphasis on making our operations more sustainable, while rebuilding from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Walsh.
The training is offered as individual modules and or a complete package of all six. Courses are delivered through live virtual classrooms, providing real-time interactive instructor-led online learning where participants can communicate, view, and discuss presentations.
During the sessions the participants will also engage with learning resources while working in groups, all in an online setting.
Following this development, one of the first airlines in the Middle East to secure accreditation to the highest level in the IATA Environmental Assessment Programme (IEnvA), Qatar Airways has already embraced the idea to acquire sustainability knowledge for its staff.
Qatar Airways has selected the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Environmental Sustainability in Aviation Program.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive, H.E Akbar Al Baker, said Qatar Airways has committed to training its employees and sharing its knowledge in developing a well-versed sustainability strategy and best practices on implementing an effective environmental management system.
The Chief Executive also urged other airlines to emulate Qatar Airways decision by showing commitment to incorporate environmental sustainability and sound business practices into their daily operations.
“Talent development is vital to sustainable business growth and success. Employees need to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values to act for the planet, enabling them to serve as driving forces of Qatar Airways’ sustainable environmental management. We encourage the industry to follow our lead in educating employees in environmental sustainability training as a step towards achieving the industry’s sustainability goals,” said Al Baker.
Walsh explained that IATA was honoured that Qatar Airways has selected its new Environmental Sustainability training to ensure that its employees can acquire the new skill set needed, as the industry emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and begins to rebuild based in a more sustainable manner.
In June, Qatar Airways rolled out a bespoke e-learning programme to increase environmental sustainability awareness among its staff, to incorporate environmental perspectives into the daily operations of their respective divisions.
Qatar Airways believes that employees must be given opportunities to learn how to be proactive in pursuit of sustainable environmental management in their operations.
IATA has been offering training for the aviation industry since 1972. Its curriculum covers more than 350 courses which are taken by over 100,000 participants per year.
By Joyce Mukucha