While the shortage of pilots gets most of the breathless press these days, avionics shops can tell you it’s no picnic finding technicians to install increasingly complex avionics. And with the avionics sector booming, newly installed Aircraft Electronics Association President Mike Adamson says it will take intense pressure on training just to keep up, much less growth the workforce.
In this podcast recorded at the AEA convention in Palm Springs Monday, Adamson, who took over from departing AEA President Paula Derks, says it will take a combination of apprentice programs, in-shop training and vocational programs to find new hires.
“Near term, we’ve got a lot of things in place that will help get technicians into the workforce. Unfortunately, we’re losing them to other competitive high-tech fields. Some of those things may be wage related, some may be a better marketing effort from other industries. But we’re focused on creating opportunities to build a pipeline for that talent,” Adamson says.
Consensus standards across the board for certification and training help, but so do apprenticeships and AEA operates a constant training school for technicians at its Lees Summit, Missouri, headquarters. Still, even with those efforts, converting students into full-time technicians may be the most serious challenge the industry faces to continue sustained growth. “We have programs to attract young people, we’re just not getting enough,” Adamson adds.