The last day of ABACE (April 18) is once again focused on careers in aviation and is led by the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA). Sarah Kalmeta, who has led the Discovery program since 2017 and is a member of the association’s board of governors, told AIN the Discovery Day is AsBAA’s main annual careers event at a show. But there is much more to what Discovery now represents for members of the association, who are acutely aware of the need to grow new talent and attract youngsters to careers in the aviation industry.
Kalmeta, whose day job is working for Universal Weather and Aviation in its Hong Kong office, said AsBAA first partnered with Avic Foundation but now other educational establishments have become partners too. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Asian arm in Singapore and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s MBA school are the main ones at present, along with Hong Kong International Aviation Academy, which offers vocational courses for 16-19-year-olds.
AsBAA Discovery focuses on organizing events such as summer schools, visits, and lectures. The program will evolve to include modules and later classes in aviation that can be part of other educational courses. The current focus, according to Kalmeta, is to get governments in the region interested in having aviation represented in formal education at various levels. In addition, AsBAA Discovery is starting to engage the younger age group in schools. It hopes to encourage those that develop an interest in an aviation career to become an AsBAA student member, a new membership category just launched at ABACE 2019. Last year, AsBAA Discovery launched a science, technology, engineering, and math program with Dover Court International School in Singapore, which also provided a trip to Jet Aviation for a tour.
At the other end of the age range, AsBAA is hoping to engage students who can help it to expand and run AsBAA Discovery, possibly via internships at AsBAA itself. Some AsBAA members, such as Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre, have already taken on interns following AsBAA events.
In the wider region, Kalmeta said AsBAA Discovery recently launched in Malaysia and South Korea, and as well as operating already in Greater China and Singapore, is also well established in the Philippines, for example holding events at the Philippine Air Transport and Training Services College of Aeronautics.
“We’re looking to do more events,” said Kalmeta, “and we’re starting working groups in the regions, for pilots, human resources, and talent development, and we’re looking at having schedulers and dispatchers working groups.”