Etihad Airways welcomed the latest group of graduates from its innovative development program to join divisions across the airline as pilots, managers, contact centre staff and technical engineers.
The 217 graduates, who include 65 Emirati cadet pilots and 20 cadet pilots of other nationalities; 74 Emirati graduate managers, 44 Emirati contact centre staff and 14 Emirati technical trainees, were recognised at a gala ceremony held in Abu Dhabi last night.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very proud of our new graduates as they celebrate this milestone in a journey of learning and development and now become part of the Etihad Airways family.
“The development of talented UAE nationals is a top priority for Etihad Airways. Since the launch in 2007 of our UAE National Development Program, we have continued to enhance the training programs to include all aspects of the airline business and invest and expand our state-of-the-art educational facilities for trainees.”
The 52 cadet pilots who graduated in this latest group join Etihad Airways as second officers, having completing an 18-month training course at Horizon Flight academy in Al Ain.
The graduation ceremony also recognised the first 33 cadet pilots to successfully complete the first phase of the enhanced Cadet Pilot program and obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation.
The Cadet Pilot Program works in partnership with Abu Dhabi University, and spans three years, including classroom based academic studies as well as internships at the airline’s offices.
Mr Hogan added: “The addition of an Aviation Science degree to the Etihad Airways Cadet Pilot Program is a great example of how we continue to develop our training. This will empower our future pilots with knowledge alongside their practical training.”
Etihad Airways also invests in the development of UAE nationals through its highly successful two-to-three year Graduate Management Program.
The program was recently restructured as a workplace learning program based on specialised functions including finance, information technology, global sales, airport operation, audit, human resource, revenue management and network planning.
The program is underpinned by internationally accredited qualifications and integrates classroom education with on-the-job training both in the UAE and across the network.
Upon completion of the program, graduates are deployed in various departments across the business and the airline’s global network.
The Etihad Airways’ technical engineering program includes a Bachelor Degree program from the Higher Colleges of Technology, the Abu Dhabi Polytechnic Institute, or a specialized aircraft maintenance institute, followed by two years of practical training at Abu Dhabi Airport working on the most modern airplanes in the industry.
To start working as engineers, the trainees have to obtain an approved engineer’s license from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
In 2009, Etihad announced the creation of an all-female UAE national contact centre facility in Al Ain. A comprehensive training course was designed and delivered in partnership with Abu Dhabi University in Al Ain. The extensive 10-week program covers core skills, service skills and basic English language skills. The program also includes three weeks of on-the-job training.
Mr Hogan added: “Our contact centres handle more than three million calls each year. As our network continues to grow, it is increasingly important for us to provide high quality, multilingual assistance to our guests who tend to book directly with the airline.”
Etihad Airways’ UAE National Development Program was launched in 2007 and since then has been recognised by various prestigious international organisations. The airline was recently recognized at the MENA HR Excellence Awards with Best Learning and Development Award and a certification of excellence in the Best Nationalisation Initiative category.
Since 2007, 244 cadet pilots, 151 graduate managers and 340 contact centre agents have passed through the Etihad Training Academy and are now deployed in positions across the airline. UAE nationals are the largest nationality in Etihad airways with almost 1,600 currently employed in the airline.