The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria has submitted its post COVID-19 restart plans to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and is awaiting the regulators to access it before announcing a resumption date.
The College has also disclosed that it is in the process of establishing a sixth school, an Airport Emergency Training School, in addition to its previous five to bolster the institution’s training capacities.
Rector of NCAT, Captain Mohammed Abdulsalami who made this known today in a webinar, Impact of COVID-19 for Aviation Training in Africa moderated by founder Young African Aviation Professionals (YAPA), Fadi Noutchemo said that the COVID-19 pandemic has all but crippled aviation, including training as it is the worse hit by the pandemic worldwide.
According to him, “COVID-19 came earlier in the year and has affected aviation more than any sector in the world and Nigeria is no different. We had to suspend training in late March and we thought it would be for a while but due to the current happenings and advice by our government we have been shut down and realize COVID-19 is here so we need to live with it and gradually restart our economy.”
On the College restart plans, the Rector said “We are looking at operation with COVID-19. The NCAA has issued guidelines to Approved Training Organisations (ATO) for restart on training and we have done a plan and submitted and are waiting for their assessment so we can announce a restart date
“Like I said we have submitted a restart plan with the NCAA, so they have to send a team. Once, they are satisfied they will give us the green light so we can set a date. We already have a target date but we cannot make it public until the verification is done. We do not want to give out a date and then change it later, which would look bad.
Capt Abdulsalami had earlier explained that the school was in the process of establishing a sixth school, Airport Emergency Training School, in addition to its previous five and has procured some of the equipment including a fire simulator that would also be useful for cabin crew for training.
”We have five (5) schools, aircraft maintenance; aviation management school, Air Traffic Controller Communication School, Aeronautical Telecommunications School as well as the Flying School and we are presently in the process of adding a sixth school: Airport Emergency Training School which we have installed fire training simulator for that purpose”.
“This equipment simulates 32 fire scenarios and we will inculcate part of our cabin crew training in that simulator. He said.
Explaining how the College will continue its training programmes, and steps taken to ensure it is compliant with the new normal, Captain Abdulsalami said that the College had embraced and adopted virtual learning methods.
“At NCAT we, the management agreed to commence virtual learning for the knowledge based courses. Like Aviation law and others. We started virtual learning and have been on it for 10 weeks. The virtual learning is the new normal post-covid and it has come to stay
He advised prospective aviation professionals not to give up, stating that industry experts have predicted that the industry will start recovery in two to two and the half years time.
He encouraged them to start their training now which, for pilots and engineers, will take two years so when they are graduating, they will graduate to an industry reopening and normalizing, in need of manpower.