The UK’s departure from the European Union persists in impacting the country’s shortage of aviation skills, an industry body says.

The country’s aviation industry skills shortage is compounded in particular by a failure to agree on the movement of labour between itself and the EU.

Progress “weaker” than hoped

At a conference held by the British Business and General Aviation Association, the corporation’s boss, Marc Bailey, told attendees that political obstacles still remain that deny UK firms access to pilots and maintenance professionals from across the continent.

“Without doubt, there has been an impact because positions have hardened. We expected to see bilateral agreements coming to fruition in a couple of years, and it’s not at the Civil Aviation Authority and EASA, but at a political level, there is not a will to have them, so progress on agreements has been weaker than a lot of us would have hoped.”

The EU and the UK government remain at odds over the latter’s demands to alter the terms under which it left the union over two years ago. The proposed terms mainly relate to changes regarding the regulation of cross-border trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Developing UK talent critical

A more streamlined process from training to employment was called for by Mr Bailey, both for younger people and for recruits who may wish to retrain. He also underlined the importance of the UK generating its own talent.

engineer works on aircraft
Obstacles still remain that deny UK firms access to pilots and maintenance professionals from across the continent | © Pandu Agus Wismoyo

Progress has been made in this regard – last year, for example, an industry partnership, including the BBGA Association, created the Aviation Skills Retention Platform as a means to facilitate the filling of vacancies in the UK.

Mr Bailey concluded his speech by stressing UK firms needed to continue to push for the development of local training centres. With strong connections to similar organisations elsewhere, such as the ROC van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, this will re-establish the UK as a desirable location for aviation careers, he commented.

How else can the UK address its aviation skills shortage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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