By Sade Williams
Rector of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Capt. Abdusalami Mohammed has explained how the new status, Regional Training Centre of Excellence, granted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to the institution will assist it in being recognised globally in terms of training.
Mohammed, who spoke in an interview at the just concluded World Aviation Forum held in Abuja, said with the status, the college can develop training programmes for all the ICAO Annexes.
“So we can develop training programs in Aerodromes, air transport, facilitation, environment safety, security, so it opens a lot of windows of opportunities as we can develop these programs ourselves and anytime someone from any part of the world is interested and part of the ICAO TrainAir plus, they can utilise these programs and NCAT gets to benefit because we get paid anytime someone uses our training programmes.
“As for our instructors, because they have been trained by ICAO, they can be invited to conduct training in any part of the world. My deputy here had gone to conduct training in Singapore and that goes to show the level of confidence the ICAO has”, he said.
He however said that the institution need to be now fully prepared to meet the demands of being an RTC, adding that there is need to improve on the facilities within the college.
“We have the capacity, we have the plans to increase that capacity because by being an RTC opens a lot of opportunities for NCAT there will be a lot of training at NCAT and it will improve the requirement that we need to keep this status. We have to keep increasing or improving on our facilities and one of the things we need to meet this criteria is to modernise our classrooms. If you go to our classrooms you will see that they are modernised and standardised to meet ICAO requirement, they are complete with projectors and interactive boards.
“What we need to do in anticipation for the increased demands for courses is we build more classrooms, office accommodation and hostel accommodation and all this in anticipation of our approval and we made allowances for in our 2017-18 budget and we are fully ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of this new status that NCAT has.
“Already NCAT Offers post graduate Diploma in Aviation management, we have identified the need to have this, and anytime we interact with airline owners, we stress the need for them to train people in aviation management because we have a lot of technical people who are involved in running airlines or administrative functions but they lack the proper training in aviation management. So we are already conducting these courses and we hope to introduce additional courses in the future. We are also talking to other educational institutions so we can collaborate with some of them both in Nigeria and outside”, he added.
Mohammed, who spoke on how the college met the requirements set by ICAO to attain the RTC status, said this journey was started by NCAT 11years ago when it members of the TrainAir Plus.
“Before you become a member of TrainAir Plus there are also criteria you need to meet which included access end of training facilities and personnel. The global aviation office sent auditors from ICAO to Zaria to come and access, they came with their checklist and of course typically there were some gaps and we were given time within which to close these gaps, and we were reassessed and it was determined that we met the requirement to be a member of the TrainAir .
“The next level was the change in nomenclature now it’s called TrainAir Plus and also that requirement was for the institution to develop a standard training package which we did in 2013 and in 2015 we started the process of getting this RTC status and that required a lot of things, including and not limited to developing extra training packages, at the time NCAT signified interest to go for the RTC, that was when the criteria was changed, now they needed the applicant to develop a minimum of three standard training packages and we had to do that and then train an internally validated and for that training of an internal validator we had to develop another standard training package. So with that, NCAT was able to satisfy the requirement of being awarded RTC Status”, he revealed.
Speaking on the challenges procuring fuel to power trainer aircraft, he said availability and cost of Aviation gas has been a challenge for any operator of piston engine aircraft, adding that that was why the decision was taken by NCAT management long to replace the Tampico aircraft that uses Avgas to the diamond aircraft that uses jet A1.
“We already have taken delivery of one diamond 42 aircraft, we have more on order, the process is slow because of budgetary allocations and releases but even today we discussed this with the House of Representatives chairman on aviation and she agrees there is need for us to have increased allocations so we can bring in more aircraft instead of one at a time. If we are able to re-fleet within the shortest possible time we will not be facing this challenge of availability and cost of Avgas. We bought some and took delivery of some consignment of Avgas last week and we have enough stock to last us quite a while”, he added.