Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

General discussion from the very important bit between the carpark and the flight line.
Kulwin Park
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Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Kulwin Park » Thu May 2 2019, 13:40

There are so many jobs for LAME & AME engineers in the last year. The aviation trader magazine & discussion boards like this are full of postings desperately seeking licensed engineers!!!!!

However, when going into most workshops nowadays, you rarely see apprentices, or any young kids coming through. The industry is only going to get worse for owners, operators & engineering firms, unless the engineer shortage is dealt with right now - by alluring new recruits & training them up. Otherwise I see an Australian heli industry in despair in the next few years.

:idea: It would be wonderful to see with every new job advertisement for a AME/LAME, that every employer also advertise that an apprentice will also be employed in conjunction with that person. It is the only way to combat the skilled shortage. :idea:

Yes the engineers are not paid highly like some other industries, but by employing 1 apprentice/trades assistant for every experienced LAME, the industry may recover in years to come, and every helicopter will be able to be flying quicker & safer - not the long wait that some endure now! As well as the valuable training the newbies will gain off the current LAME's with old school knowledge.

EMPLOYERS: PLEASE TAKE ON THE CONCEPT ABOVE. Apprentices are not a waste of time, and the government does have a good incentive program.

Cheers, KP
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby choppermech1986 » Thu May 2 2019, 16:07

Good food for thought KP. There are a few good employers of apprentices out there but there are plenty of operators who are constantly looking for experienced LAME's yet don't invest in training inexperienced AME's. In my experience, there is a bit of a code amongst engineers whereby we charge more if we see the company is not investing in the future, I'd like to think that companies start to act when it hits their hip pocket.

IMHO, CASA have made the licensing system overly difficult and complicated, they should take a leaf out of the US or Canadian book if they want to properly address the shortage.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby SuperF » Sat May 4 2019, 06:20

Supply and demand will sort it out. Eventually as the shortage of engineers hits, then they will be able to demand more money. At that point more people will start to enter the industry.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby ChicoCheco » Sat May 4 2019, 23:18

Takes few years, what in the meantime?
You really think they're gonna get half more or so?

I did Euro easa part66 B1.1 exams at p145 training school. No real work exp organised/able to, no progress. All just piece of paper/history.

Even in the US there will be major shortage due volumes. Youngsters aren't attracted to industry's "coal face". Some not even to flight crew career.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby jimiemick » Sun May 5 2019, 08:00

I think a large issue is also because, The youngsters coming up now days do not even think of becoming a AME/LAME unless they have some form of history or exposure to the aviation industry.

I come from a Trades background, Currently a senior HVAC Technician, We had a MAJOR issue years ago where no body knew what the hell the trade was (ok most still do not)
But eventually the word got out that we made some decent $$ and then the resumes started every time there was a job advertised.

Another big issue that I have found is it is hard to find people willing to learn/ Put in the hard yards to become qualified, as well as companies prefer the cheap labour and also do not always give the apprentices good avenues in which to learn and keep them interested.

I enquired in if i would get any recognition to prior learning due to working, and was told "no as my trade does not cross over in to aviation"....................
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby SuperF » Sun May 5 2019, 11:26

It takes a few years, and in the meantime the engineers can earn some good money.

Helicopter operators will just have to pay more for engineering, and may have to put their rates up to pay for engineering, or accept having helicopters sitting on the ground idle, while there is work to be done.

The guys cutting corners and cutting prices won’t be able to afford engineers, so will loose work, the guys prepared to pay engineers well, will be able to undertake the work.

It’s simple economic supply and demand.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby choppermech1986 » Sun May 5 2019, 17:25

SuperF,

I agree with your sentiment but I have a feeling that as supply and demand forces slowly work their magic, it's going to be messy.

As operators have to do more work with less staff, that one experienced engineer is now signing for more aircraft than before, as well as doing the office work and probably processing the stores at the same time. They finally retire and a younger LAME comes on board or is promoted from freshly licensed LAME to Chief Engineer and is expected to do as much as the last guy. A few new pilots arrive and eventually the Swiss cheese holes line up and a Longranger with 6 bums on board has a forced landing due to some kind of a maintenance error. Flip a coin, Heads and it's a smoking hole in the ground, Tails and its an expensive recovery and repair.

Either way, the operator eventually shuts down, they had trouble getting staff before and the accident didn't help things. The work goes to an operator a little further away who has a better compliment of engineers and a stronger mentoring program for their young AME's. This results in a longer ferry (more hours flown for the same contract with a lower chance of an accident per hour flown). This commands a higher premium for the hourly rate and some of those profits are passed on to the engineering staff, it has to if they want to continue to be well staffed, otherwise it slowly goes the way of the first operator, but ultimately there is only so much work around and you can only have so many engineering staff.

Over time, as you say, everything gets safer and LAME's get paid more, it's just supply and demand after all. However, LAME's getting paid more will be cold comfort to the family of the six who perished, all because the industry was waiting for the slow forces of supply and demand to overcome those operators who insist they can do the same amount of work with less staff.

Unfortunately though, in this example, CASA are blameless as they had 'strong SMS systems in place to ensure that everything was done right', the operator had a procedures manual that absolves them of blame and the poor young LAME is left with his dick in his hand, hopefully there's something that the operator did/didn't do that doesn't leave him on the hook and the operators insurance can cover the impending lawsuit, either way, it's a moot point as he's leaving the industry faster than you can say 'highly employable'.

Sorry for the doom and gloom example, I'm just trying to convey that supply and demand is not always as dehumanised as you might suggest.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby havick » Sun May 5 2019, 22:37

choppermech1986 wrote:SuperF,

I agree with your sentiment but I have a feeling that as supply and demand forces slowly work their magic, it's going to be messy.

As operators have to do more work with less staff, that one experienced engineer is now signing for more aircraft than before, as well as doing the office work and probably processing the stores at the same time. They finally retire and a younger LAME comes on board or is promoted from freshly licensed LAME to Chief Engineer and is expected to do as much as the last guy. A few new pilots arrive and eventually the Swiss cheese holes line up and a Longranger with 6 bums on board has a forced landing due to some kind of a maintenance error. Flip a coin, Heads and it's a smoking hole in the ground, Tails and its an expensive recovery and repair.

Either way, the operator eventually shuts down, they had trouble getting staff before and the accident didn't help things. The work goes to an operator a little further away who has a better compliment of engineers and a stronger mentoring program for their young AME's. This results in a longer ferry (more hours flown for the same contract with a lower chance of an accident per hour flown). This commands a higher premium for the hourly rate and some of those profits are passed on to the engineering staff, it has to if they want to continue to be well staffed, otherwise it slowly goes the way of the first operator, but ultimately there is only so much work around and you can only have so many engineering staff.

Over time, as you say, everything gets safer and LAME's get paid more, it's just supply and demand after all. However, LAME's getting paid more will be cold comfort to the family of the six who perished, all because the industry was waiting for the slow forces of supply and demand to overcome those operators who insist they can do the same amount of work with less staff.

Unfortunately though, in this example, CASA are blameless as they had 'strong SMS systems in place to ensure that everything was done right', the operator had a procedures manual that absolves them of blame and the poor young LAME is left with his dick in his hand, hopefully there's something that the operator did/didn't do that doesn't leave him on the hook and the operators insurance can cover the impending lawsuit, either way, it's a moot point as he's leaving the industry faster than you can say 'highly employable'.

Sorry for the doom and gloom example, I'm just trying to convey that supply and demand is not always as dehumanised as you might suggest.


Sadly this is exactly how things will play out over the coming years.
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Eric Hunt
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Eric Hunt » Mon May 6 2019, 00:59

There is also a problem with the Entitled Generation, where they have come through school without ever "losing" at anything - everybody was given an award for something, so the poor kid wouldn't get PTSD by not winning a race or failing an exam. Now the kid expects to walk out of school into a job that pays him a motza for looking at facebook. He doesn't want to spend 3 or 4 years before being qualified, so he will stay on the dole. Lotsa luck.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby FerrariFlyer » Mon May 6 2019, 04:28

Eric Hunt wrote:There is also a problem with the Entitled Generation, where they have come through school without ever "losing" at anything - everybody was given an award for something, so the poor kid wouldn't get PTSD by not winning a race or failing an exam. Now the kid expects to walk out of school into a job that pays him a motza for looking at facebook. He doesn't want to spend 3 or 4 years before being qualified, so he will stay on the dole. Lotsa luck.


G’day Eric. That is definitely an issue with a seemingly large number of the ‘younger’ generation.

Onto the topic of shortages, everything moves in cycles regardless of the industry. In the 90’s airlines had a severe shortage of qualified crews in Europe so they ended up recruiting a large number of offshore drivers and helped convert them to fixed wing. Offshore operators suffered to the point they had to offer virtually fully funded cadetships for newcomers to enter the industry and earn a CPL-H and instrument rating progress straight into either a AS332 Super Puma or a S61. It was that or let machines stay on the ground. Nowadays you need to fund everything for a job which is a significant financial impost that is not for the faint hearted.

Sadly, in recent years we’ve seen a prolonged downturn and much industry turmoil (some would argue the world around). Apparently green shoots are appearing...

For the airlines in the USA and the world around, an emerging shortage of pilots and engineers is playing out. A friend of mine just accepted a signing bonus of $50k US to join a US regional carrier given he is type endorsed and command ready. Wasn’t that long ago you’d be hard pressed to make $50k US as a regional captain!

The exact same cyclical issues have similar effects on engineers as they do pilots. Unfortunately it takes a long time to train a licenced engineer so the lead time taken to catch up on sufficient industry numbers can be too late for some operators to sit and wait.

On that point, with all airports now being like virtual prisons and ‘so secure’ how accessible are the planes, helicopters, pilots and engineers etc for keen and upcoming youngsters to access and discuss future careers?
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Kulwin Park » Mon May 6 2019, 11:24

FerrariFlyer wrote:
Eric Hunt wrote:There is also a problem with the Entitled Generation, where they have come through school without ever "losing" at anything - everybody was given an award for something, so the poor kid wouldn't get PTSD by not winning a race or failing an exam. Now the kid expects to walk out of school into a job that pays him a motza for looking at facebook. He doesn't want to spend 3 or 4 years before being qualified, so he will stay on the dole. Lotsa luck.


G’day Eric. That is definitely an issue with a seemingly large number of the ‘younger’ generation.

The exact same cyclical issues have similar effects on engineers as they do pilots. Unfortunately it takes a long time to train a licenced engineer so the lead time taken to catch up on sufficient industry numbers can be too late for some operators to sit and wait.

On that point, with all airports now being like virtual prisons and ‘so secure’ how accessible are the planes, helicopters, pilots and engineers etc for keen and upcoming youngsters to access and discuss future careers?


Exactly right! A young kid whom maybe interested in aviation, can't even get a look in the door anymore, to even want to watch a LAME do his/her bit, and want to show their enthusiasm.

The LAME is either too busy to have someone watch them or talk to them, OR the kid needs an ASIC to enter, OR the do gooder rules setting OHS don't allow a minor to be in the hangar, OR the kid is turned away by other engineers saying "Don't enter this stinking low paid career mate!"

How's a prospective apprentice meant to show how keen they are when they are faced with all this???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW, I agree with all the above comments of everyone else. Still I never heard any maintenance operator say they would employ an apprentice after all this food for thought. It's a sign of the times....... Wait until it's at crisis point and wish the tree had been planted awhile ago !
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby havick » Wed May 8 2019, 11:43

Kestrel Aviation has trained up some apprentices in the last 3-4 years.
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Kulwin Park
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Kulwin Park » Wed May 8 2019, 13:09

I am liking the acknowledgements of people are aware of the situation, and that people are posting AD's for the potential apprentices to see. Thanks.
Gone of the days of thinking that every company would put on an apprentice every 2nd year, knowing that 25% of them would leave the industry, so you had to take a gamble and have a steady apprentice intake to train them up and allow for shortfalls.
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Twistgrip » Wed May 8 2019, 13:14

havick wrote:Kestrel Aviation has trained up some apprentices in the last 3-4 years.


That’s great Havick.
Some leading offshore companies here in Oz continue to offer apprenticeships and as offshore starts to pick up this will continue we hope. 8)
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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby GIBO18 » Mon Aug 19 2019, 06:52

Eric Hunt wrote:There is also a problem with the Entitled Generation, where they have come through school without ever "losing" at anything - everybody was given an award for something, so the poor kid wouldn't get PTSD by not winning a race or failing an exam. Now the kid expects to walk out of school into a job that pays him a motza for looking at facebook. He doesn't want to spend 3 or 4 years before being qualified, so he will stay on the dole. Lotsa luck.


Eric, I'm going to have to disagree.

Whose idea was it to hand out participation awards? Certainly not mine, or any my "entitled generation" friends. :roll:

Whats the deal with blaming young people for the problems created by those of older generations? I know personally 3 of my peers, the oldest being 19 actively pursuing careers within the engineering/maintenance field. They face the same problems that everyone who is young and choosing a career faces. That being, why choose this career? From every perspective that I have seen, the path a LAME takes is an objectively bad one. Wanna make money? Being a LAME might not be your best option. Want a great work/life balance then? Again, its a hard slog in the beginning to be a LAME and often times you're working in poor conditions/long hours in the middle of nowhere. Its also a fair amount of responsiblity. If you make a mistake, peoples lives could be on the line. And for what? The chance to make good money in 20 years? Yeah, I'm good thanks. The solution is simple, pay more money or be forced to. If you can't pay more, you have to charge more, if you can't charge more then you're out of business.

The same can be said for many careers including being a pilot. However pilots are cursed with a thing called "passion". Leading them to make terrible long term decisions like, getting a pilots licence. The difference is they can forgo some of the benefits I previosuly mentioned since they love their jobs and are often taken advantage of for doing so. Most people I know don't wan't to be LAME because their dad took em to an airshow in 88' and they saw the mechanic swinging spanners and fell in love. Most, irrelvant of the indusry are in it for the money and unfortunately their just isn't enough floating around to draw people in. For most people its either pursue you dreams, pursue money or hurry up and wait to die.

As far as I can see, employers are too short sighted to see whats being predicted here. That or they know something we don't. Either way, I don't know too many members of the "entitled generation" that are running aviation businesses. As a member of the "entitled generation" I feel like I can speak about why/why not myself and my peers are making career choices.

Ofcourse, I always stand to be corrected and particually as someone whos speaking from outside the industry that may well be that case. In saying that, I would be more than interested in hearing about any negative experiences you've had which aren't stories coming from the dark corners of the 7 News writers room.

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Re: Apprentices urgently needed in the industry

Postby Lucky_01 » Mon Aug 19 2019, 07:33

I have spent 15 years in the auto electrical industry, working on equipment and setting up new equipment properly, even upgrading electrical wiring and systems that OEM have not given a great deal of thought too. But do you think that even qualifies as a Recognition of Prior Learning of anything aviation related? Not at all. Aviation lacks the ability to interchange with developing industries.... autonomous mining systems are advancing while aviation argues who should be allowed work on a lycoming io360.

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