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50% of applicants aren't employable....

Old 18th Mar 2018, 11:06
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Originally Posted by parkfell View Post

So if any old Tom, Dick or Harry is allowed to train, the outcome is going to produce such a spread. No formal selection, just the ability to finance the initial training phase.
This is the key point.

If you read the above post by Chris the Robot he makes some good, valid points that I will try and expand on. My background is as a retired train driver/instructor/manager who had a fair amount of input regarding the selection and training of new drivers, for fun I can just about get a weightshift up and down without breaking it.

As Chris alluded to, the selection procedures are rigorous, and in my experience it was close to an 8% pass rate in the psychometric and trainability tests. This is before face to face interviews and after sifts and telephone interview. The selection process is not cheap and after having more failures than usual in the school it was decided that the training department would have an input in the recruitment from the application stage. The reasoning behind this was that as efficient as HR were, they were looking at candidates without having any experience of what the job entails and were probably rejecting people that had what we were looking for. As to the training cost and timescale, it is probably on parity with putting someone in the RHS of a bus and we paid them about 30k while training.

The difference today between the industries is that the railway has total control of the process from initial contact to sending the new driver out on his own. There has been in recent years attempts by private companies to emulate the big integrated ATOs but apart from a few offering to sell you the psychometric tests it has met with resistance from both companies and unions with good reason. It doesn't matter how much money or educational qualifications you have, if you do not have the qualities that are required then the door is closed.

There are always going to be in both industries a surplus of those that want to and those that actually can do. The process must start with selection on potential ability and personal qualities. Perhaps other airlines could follow the BA self sponsored cadet scheme?
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 11:44
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You can probably trace the reduction in instructing standards of basic flying skills to the number of RAF A2 instructors leaving the service aged 38+, and being employed at what was the Commerical Flying Schools. Hamble/Oxford/British Aerospace FC/Cabair to name but a few.

A Standards Dept were the Quality Control. Once the critical mass of ex-A2s were not present then standards could not be guaranteed, as more "self improvers" were employed to keep up with the demand.

WilliumM is 100% correct about the undue influence of the HR department. It is the Training Dept who should be the controlling influence over selection. If HR were charged through budgetary control for their howlers, they would appreciate the merit of pilots having the casting vote.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 12:32
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Besides lack of initial selection replaced by money, "old school" FI's, and ATO's total control of the process, what about the impact of the 14 ATPL theoretical exams which "Unemmployable " candidates can pass with good mneumonic memory, rote learning, without even one face to face assesment interview ?
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 12:55
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That's why the FAA and Transport Canada have an oral exam.....
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 13:29
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Negan

Firing any employee "on the spot" might well prove very expensive for the employer should it end up at an Employment Tribunal. There is a clear due process to follow when dealing with suspected misconduct.
You, as the customer, can always complain if it directly impacts on your training.

Your Flight School does not seem to be a very happy place, with a possible lack of control by management. It surprises me that your stay. You could always vote with your feet ?
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 13:45
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Good point about written exams, especially multi-choice. I do find that when it comes to written exams, one thing that is really important is technique and they teach that at secondary school these days. I couldn't tell you a great deal about Shakespeare's plays though I could tell you how to obtain all four marks in a four mark question about them.

The post about HR influence is pretty valid too I think. Where I work, the final interview is done by local management who have direct experience of the role in question. At the end of training it's the same management decision as to whether someone is allowed to become qualified, the decision comes after a four/five day process known as the Initial Competence Assessment.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 17:16
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Until the law changes that requires a minimum experience level before flying aircraft over certain weights, then a newly qualified CPL/IR straight from L3 or whoever, will occupy the RHS with low hours.
It is exactly what BA, Aer Lingus, Easyjet etc do. If it didn't work they would not do it. And you don't need to be a "wonder kid". Just a hard working competent junior birdman.

BA have been sponsoring cadets for years. Remember Hamble?
AerLingus likewise training at Oxford & BAe?

If the "white tails" wish to spend their money on a CPL/IR, that is a matter for them. Whether it is wise in all cases, that is the risk they take, knowing that employment is never a certainty.

As for T&Cs, a function of market forces, and what the Unions achieve through negotiations with the employer in a democratic European society.

And finally, not all Turbo Prop Captains are capable ( a small minority) of making the transition. Some have actually tired it, and given up the unequal struggle, returning to the turbo prop world.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 17:21
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Like the old adagio says " BU****IT talks, money walks...There is no point arguing, the accident record is good, computer flies the a/c, crews are cheap and quickly available from zero to hero in 2 years, fares are competitive and low....

Everybody is happy, of course until S**T hits the fan. Then the debate is revived again and soon forgotten.....
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 20:00
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What no-one has so far mentioned, is the skills they think companies should be looking for?

Anyone can learn to fly an aircraft if they are duly motivated, same as driving a car, neither are evolutionary skills, so there is nothing that cannot be picked up. Smoothly and perfectly maybe not, to a safe and acceptable level, absolutely.

What exactly are people discussing when they mention what students are lacking?

I don't like the concept that someone high and mighty would be able to make the decision of what someone could and couldn't do, an aptitude test will in no way give you an indication of if I can fly an aircraft, nor will it give you an indication of if you could spend 6 hours in an enclosed space with me.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 21:12
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Anyone can learn to fly an aircraft if they are duly motivated, same as driving a car, neither are evolutionary skills, so there is nothing that cannot be picked up. Smoothly and perfectly maybe not, to a safe and acceptable level, absolutely.
Have you ever instructed?
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Old 19th Mar 2018, 08:06
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The other consideration in the long term is the demographic spread of the pilot workforce where ideally the bulges (retirement year/s) do not exist.

The last weight restriction to be removed was for the SENIOR COMMERICAL PILOTS LICENCE which required 900 hours experience with the ATPL exams passed for issue. That allowed pilots to be in command of ac up to 20,000kg.

Last issued in 1989, with a transition period of 5 years for holders to upgrade to the ATPL or revert to CPL.
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Old 19th Mar 2018, 09:12
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As one of the 50% being referred to (Ryanair rejected my application, I didn't get as far as an assessment) I take statements like this with a pinch of salt. What is their definition of "not employable"? In my case someone over 40 with several thousand hours of instructing on single-engine aircraft.
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Old 19th Mar 2018, 09:52
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Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
Have you ever instructed?
Not once. I don't have the patience or capacity for instruction, it wouldn't be fair on the student.
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Old 19th Mar 2018, 10:34
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Originally Posted by shy ted View Post
As one of the 50% being referred to (Ryanair rejected my application, I didn't get as far as an assessment) I take statements like this with a pinch of salt. What is their definition of "not employable"? In my case someone over 40 with several thousand hours of instructing on single-engine aircraft.
I'm pretty sure this 50% figure is relevant for people having taken the sim assessment.
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Old 19th Mar 2018, 12:47
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There is a huge spectrum in ability for those attending the sim assessment sessions.
Capt Pitt Bull mentioned those attending MCC/JOC courses and the varying quality of customer.
The same is also true post MCC/JOC where airline selection occurs, and the varying quality in the initial exposure to multi crew operations which shows itself in the sim rides.
Choose your ATO carefully........

Last edited by parkfell; 19th Mar 2018 at 23:10.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 00:13
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How much is down to the individual and how much is down to the training? Do some training schools who have quite a few poor students ability-wise get a reputation for poor training when actually selection* is the culprit?

It's interesting that there have been mentions of airlines wanting some life experience but not too much (i.e. too old).

*I use the term "selection" reluctantly because true selection based on ability to fly is non-existent.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 13:46
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It will come as no surprise that word of mouth plays a large part in where junior birdmen choose to train.
Those who succeed are far more likely to recommend the ATO.

Those who fail to make the grade are less likely to recommend the same ATO.

Really depends how the customer is handled. Often the failed customer is in denial, with fault never lying with them in any shape or form.

Selection of modular students is essentially one of ability to finance the course.

Regular management assessments & reporting goes a long way to keeping the customer aware of the HOWGOESIT.

Last edited by parkfell; 24th Mar 2018 at 00:04.
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 15:39
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Originally Posted by shy ted View Post
As one of the 50% being referred to (Ryanair rejected my application, I didn't get as far as an assessment) I take statements like this with a pinch of salt. What is their definition of "not employable"? In my case someone over 40 with several thousand hours of instructing on single-engine aircraft.
Ahh if only Ryanair knew how many high quality pilots they rejected and considered ''not employable'' and how easily the same ''not employable'' guys got offered jobs in much better companies and with much harder selection processes afterwards...
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 17:53
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Times have changed. Now the big schools want quantity of students, not quality. More fee-paying students and more income. At the sacrifice of of training quality and speed. Classrooms full, planes over-worked and instructors swamped. It doesn't matter if they get a handful of no-hopers, some may eventually scrape through, or will leave of their own accord. Their fees are more important to the school than a few critical comments on this forum when the graduate can't find a job. Reputation means nothing, and money talks.

On my integrated course the ground school phase was the time when most people were chopped. The school took quite a strict stance on failed ATPL exams, and they terminated students with more than four failed exams. The school considered self-sponsored students with more than four failed exams to be totally unemployable. Even with a single failed exam the student had to have a meeting with the HOT. Thankfully I never found myself in that situation, but the school took a firm stance on failed ATPL exams.

It was the flight training phase where it became ridiculous. The school just kept people there who were completely useless, and didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of making it to the line. There were guys who failed the first check-ride three or four times (take-offs, landing, basic circuits and radio calls), and then eventually scraped through because they had a sympathetic examiner. Four or five months later these guys were still limping along with a list of failures as long as their arm. Some were beyond help, but the school just kept pushing them on. In my opinion the school should have been much firmer with failed check-rides, and chopped the hopeless students. Surely these no-hopers would do more harm than good to the school's reputation, especially when they start openly criticising the school after their training, or making complete fools of themselves in sim checks?

A large majority of students got through their training scot-free, and credit to them. My issue is that most of a big school's output are 19 or 20-year olds with very little life-experience, work experience, and little or no applicable soft skills. If I conducted an interview in my old line of work, and came across these typical integrated graduates, my initial judgement would be "privileged background, wealthy parents, private school, wants a bit of instagram candy, and to tell his friends that he's a airline pilot". I trained with these lot, and I know what they're like. Generalised, yes, but that's the way I saw it. A lot want everything around being a commercial pilot, but don't care much about actually doing it.
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 23:35
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You'd think it would be sensible for all of the UK-based airlines to group together and open their own integrated flight school to handle all of their cadet needs. Complete quality control from day one and much lower costs. I believe TUI Belgium reckoned it costs 60-70k to get someone from the street to the RHS now that their cadet scheme is on an in-house integrated course.

That way there would be very few unemployable trainees and probably a higher standard of training. I doubt it'd be quite like the days when they did circuits around Shannon in a real VC-10 (though I did hear somewhere that Swissair had even better training) but I imagine it'd be pretty good.

The only real barrier would be a lack of willingness amongst the airlines to finance it properly, though given the cost-cutting shenanigans at one or two places this could actually be quite a big problem.
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