It’s not enough to present young people with opportunities, they have to be sold on their benefits according to a young pilot who has made it his mission to do just that. Barrington Irving, who became the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo at the age of 23, told an audience at NBAA-BACE that the industry’s reaction to its labor shortage is ineffective because it doesn’t address the core issues that preclude interest in the industry by many young people. “We don’t have a recruitment problem,” he said. “We have a sales and marketing problem.”
Irving said young people need to know the prize at the end of the training and hard work that precedes it and that journey has to be interesting and engaging for them. “Young people are interested (in aviation),” he said. “But they don’t know how to get there.” Irving said his approach is to give students hands-on applications for the mandatory subject matter that they must get through to finish school. Once they see the practical applications, whether in aviation, automotive or other skilled work, it’s easy to engage them. “You need to sell the finish and remember the destination,” he said.