Have you ever referred to yourself as a “jack of all trades, master of none”? Or perhaps the opposite rings more true, you’re highly skilled and savvy in a particular area of expertise but when it comes to cross-department meetings you feel like they’re speaking another language (I know I’m not the only non-engineer in a sea of engineers)! At some point or another we’ve all felt a little lost in a meeting.

Thankfully, now more than ever, companies are recognizing the importance of not only developing innovative and more efficient product, but also their people and processes.

Typing on laptop
Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

Upskilling, or the process of teaching your employees new skills as technology advances creating new opportunities and new jobs, is a vital tool for the current workforce especially in terms of morale, recruiting, and retention. It illustrates the investment a company is willing to make for its employees, provides growth opportunities, and makes good business sense. In a recent article in Aviation Week & Space Technology, authors Miguel Smart and John Karren write, “CEOs know it can be less expensive and more expedient to address skill gaps through workforce training and education.” Last year, The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) announced THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE STANDARDS (NAS) IRAP STANDARDS . These national standards further prove the importance of upskilling and help A&D companies lay the groundwork in developing their own upskilling programs which often are a combination of apprenticeships, mentorships, partnering with universities, and external continuing education short courses.

Practical Aeronautics works with companies to provide onsite upskilling. More than ever, today’s aircraft are complex systems requiring skilled professionals to combine their specific expertise into a fully integrated vehicle. The professionals who engineer, test, manufacture, and in any way support these aircraft are accomplished specialists, but often lack an overall understanding of the airplane system as a whole. Fundamental understanding of the airplane-engine system gives individuals improved ability to communicate more effectively and frame thinking beyond their area of expertise.

The next time a learning and development opportunity lands in your inbox, take action! Look for ways to upskill yourself and your workforce! In an industry which sometimes moves faster than the speed of sound, we all have to keep up!

Jennifer Ellsworth,
Operations Manager, Practical Aeronautics