A little listening goes a long way. On Monday at the day-long Accredited Training Schools Congress during the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, organizers switched up their approach for the first time from one of telling to a listening strategy. Gathering training representatives together in a small room off the exhibit area, they talked about how best to bring new training practices into the market. The goal was to turn IATA’s training offerings into the best programs available.
“In the past, we used to reflect from a headquarters point of view and just develop solutions, and give the announcement that they are ready,” said Ismail Albaidhani, IATA’s head of Global Partnerships and Learning Innovation. “This is the first time that this is really a bottom-up approach.” After the one-day meeting of global training partners, Albaidhani headed off to Singapore, where he has helped organize a two-day training partner congress starting tomorrow.
IATA’s new listening-based approach to training, whether preparing the next generation for a prized first job in aviation or equipping mid-level managers and executives with knowledge about recent changes in the industry, has helped iron out regionalize the program. After all, the skills taught to a freight forwarder in Germany may not apply to a carrier’s team in Singapore. On Monday, the assembled group of training partners — representatives from across the supply-chain spectrum — talked about teaching specialize techniques in the context of the general supply chain and where each part fits in. Input from partners in different areas of the world helped steer the discussion toward useful techniques applicable to each region.
The air cargo industry is getting older, but the ATS, through its 430 training partners who have helped launch 73,000 air cargo careers annually, hopes to attract some of the next generation. This requires a bit of persistence and a lot of patience.
“You have to reach out to people in high schools and colleges and tell them that this is an attractive industry,” Albaidhani said.
During the meeting on Monday, he told the assembled partners about new developments in the industry and how these changes would affect IATA’s curriculum. Then it was the attendees’ turn to talk; the free-flowing afternoon session, Albaidhani said, will help make sure that the IATA training programs stay fresh.
“If you don’t engage, you lose relevance, like it or not,” he said. “If you lose relevance, you lose touch with the markets.”