South Africa’s Department of Transport and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have agreed to develop and implement a training plan for South Africa’s aviation industry.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele and ICAO council president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez met in Pretoria on Thursday to discuss the skills shortage in the country’s aviation industry.

Training and scholarships in civil aviation disciplines for South Africans was one of the key areas of discussion at the meeting.

“The safety, security, efficiency and regularity of air navigation and harmonious progress of international civil aviation rely on the continuous training of aviation personnel. Therefore, assistance and cooperation in the field of specialised aviation training is of paramount importance,” said Ndebele.

The envisaged training plan was expected to augment the country’s capabilities in building skills in aviation disciplines, which would be conducive to the promotion of safety, security and the development of civil aviation.

“Training is key to safety. This training initiative between ICAO and South Africa is very exciting. South Africa will indicate the areas in which they require training and ICAO will assist,” said Gonzalez.

“There is currently a world-wide skills shortage in the aviation industry and this partnership will add to several other initiatives being implemented to increase the number of skilled personnel in the industry in South Africa. However, more young people must pursue careers in aviation,” Ndebele added.