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Old 9th Oct 2017, 12:46
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 53
Response to EK Training a disgrace

Having read the hysterical outburst at Emirates Training on public forum I felt beholden to respond as a trainer.

I have been in Emirates Training for almost 2 decades. Like any organisation it has had its ups and downs but is far from qualifying as a "disgrace". For the most part I have seen it as a progressive organisation that has the simple objective of producing good pilots to deliver to the line and identifying the areas where skills are lacking and take remedial action when they are.

Inevitably this results in some being graded as unacceptable, which is unpleasant for all. I have seen some fail checks and heard the excuses behind that. They are frequently hazy around the areas of poor performance and identify other criticisms that in themselves were not the reasons for the failure. I know this as I have often discussed the matter in detail with Examiners who themselves are somewhat distraught at having to make the call. No one likes this. It also produces a lot of work. The best sessions are 4's and 5's, short reports and everyone goes home happy. There is no agenda to send colleagues home in distress, or expose ourselves to close scrutiny on the reasons for a low grade. And close scrutiny is exactly what occurs.

That aside what is the option if someone's performance is not up to standard? A wink and a nod and let them loose to carry your family on the next vacation? That's the golden standard. I agree sometimes the call is difficult. I have agonized for hours over it. Even called to get guidance from other training colleagues for whom I have great respect. And to a degree it is even variable. Upgrades have tighter limits than the inexperienced for obvious reasons.

Simply put it's not a exact science. Inevitably there have been a few casualties that were not entirely warranted but that is inevitable. What side of the line would you err on?

That said for the most part when candidates fail to make the grade or simply have a bad day in the simulator, 90% can identify their own weaknesses and understand the decision. They too are professionals and, for the most part, highly self critical.

I hear the cry for more training. Less checking. But I see a great deal of training going on. We have some superb training staff. Again like any organisation we have some new and inexperienced ones who are bound to make errors. Generally they learn in time and are watched closely. If their motivation was wrong in the first place they soon get washed out of the system.

I have seen some superb trainers in my various airlines. I can assure you all that amongst the best are to be found in Emirates. As are the facilities and time allocated to training. I feel bound to defend not Emirates but the majority of my colleagues who put in great effort to give a quality product. To train. In a pleasant atmosphere with frequent pauses to critique, make suggestion, debrief, repeat. Not out of ego but a genuine desire to see a fluid, well handled, well managed training detail.

My personal standard is that if I the crew leaving the duty are not at least a little bit more dexterous, experienced, enlightened, confident or simply motivated then I have failed entirely in my job description and wasted all our time. And this benchmark is shared by many in the department.

But training is a two way street.

I cannot give someone a professional attitude. I cannot brief them on every aspect of a training detail. I cannot do their preparation, learn their memory actions, study their charts or familiarise them with the well published techniques on handling. My job is to set a tone, highlight difficult areas and assist in their management, to validate understanding, discuss implications, correct misconceptions, give an experienced input and help sort the vital from the interesting. And I don't claim to know all the answers. I am grateful to be corrected. It makes me better.

In short I am not a nursery school teacher. I expect to face well prepared professionals as I too am well prepared.

In my long experience, sessions go bad when the level of preparation and easily accessible knowledge is grossly lacking. If I have to explain a chart or teach a memory item that is clearly published and very obviously going to be a feature of the session then I have less time to explain the more detailed salient points. I have little time to add value above that which is already the baseline. I am trying then to simply pull the individual to the baseline and pre-empt that which I know will be ugly watching.

And yet I see a lot of this occurring more recently. An attitude of "I've pitched up - now train me. What are we doing today?". Well news to some: You will only get out of the session as much as you have put in. And whoever you are - there is always something to learn even from the less experienced.
To some of the more critical on this forum I say: Do not cast stones in glass houses. Don't take an incident on line to condemn and denigrate the nearest convenient target.

Don't get me wrong. There is a malaise afoot. Recent events prove that but training will not cure or stop that. However good it may be.

It is time for all - to the very top - to be introspective, self critical and open to discourse. We all have responsibilities. Do your bit and you personally will be ok.

Where did this malaise come from? I don't know. I have my suspicions. I believe it is a multi-headed hydra that has invaded the organization due to a deteriorating fundamental social ethos. Simply put the motivations have been wrong on many levels. But I can't cure that - certainly not alone. I point out and argue deficiencies when I see them. I see that as my responsibly but many do not. They moan or leave but do little to bring to light the problems. Mostly out of unjustified fear. If we don't all push for improvement then it's a slippery slope to the bottom. The front line of the industry has stood quiet for years while self interested parties have manipulated it for personal and unreasonable gain. That is acknowledged. But did you do your bit? You claim to be a professional. Did you write about your concerns and observations in a formal, factual, un-emotive fashion? From what I see on this forum there are many who are neither mature enough, literate enough or professional enough to do so.

We are all tired from years of pushing rosters to the limits, from the constant manipulation of FTL's, duty times. The application of law in this area without reason or logic, resulting in a workload and fatigue far beyond that which is formally acknowledged. The endless flood of information dispensed on a daily basis with the expectation of instant familiarization. The arrival of the instant and entitled generation who have much to learn about life - let alone flying. And a petty culture of resentment and barriers in the administrative departments on which we depend.

I too go to work sometimes weary, sometimes at inhumane hours, having beaten my head against the bureaucracy all day, having met the word "no" frequently with no rational reason or met yet another petty deterioration of my conditions in my mailbox. Sometimes I'm boiling with a hard to contain rage brought about by some minion who has no comprehension of the environment in which I work.

But I never take this out on my charges. They are colleagues with similar dreams and aspirations who I want to succeed. And when I leave, if I've given my best to then I feel somehow soothed.

I don't go the extra mile based on some corporate blurb from a soulless organisation that is another slave to 21st century morally bankrupt capitalism. I do it for you.
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