Training for the future

Practitioners from Europe’s leading MROs are meeting in Paris today (October 14) to discuss what skills will be needed in their workshops in the future.

The 61st bi-annual meeting of the European Aviation Maintenance Training Committee (EAMTC) is being hosted by Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance and will see 130 delegates from firms such as FL Technics, Lufthansa Technik, Sabena Technics and SR Technics meet to share best practice and debate approaches to training maintenance staff.
And there is a lot to discuss. Alongside the perennial worry over a general shortage of engineering skills in the sector, the flurry of press activity post EASA’s certification of the A350-900 confirms that ensuring engineers are capable of maintaining the next generation of aircraft is at the forefront of the major MROs' minds.
This, of course, means familiarising MRO staff with materials such as advanced composites and new metallic alloys which they may not have dealt with before, or at least not on the same scale. Not to mention the more sophisticated avionics and IFE systems that are coming online.
There’s also the question of what new technologies should MROs be considering adopting in future to undertake maintenance. Additive manufacturing, for example, while not currently a fixture in workshops may, some think, become an integral part of their set up in future. 
Installing a 3D printer could enable MROs to add protrusions, bosses and flanges to simple pre-forged rings as needed, for example, or provide a more precise way to repair fan blade tips. 
The technology is already being adopted by MROs providing interior refurbishments. ST Aerospace’s AERIA Luxury Interiors division, for example, is currently using a 3D printer to create cabin features and a custom ceiling for a VIP refit of a widebody aircraft.
Another issue that is sure to be a topic of conversation in Paris over the next two days will be how to use new technologies to train staff. How can MROs use smart mobile devices and wifi to share information, for example? And could there be a place for augmented reality in shopfloor training? 
Ensuring that technical training is accessible, relevant, engaging and has a long-term impact is no easy task. Look out for Daniella Horwitz’s feature in issue 133 of ATE&M where she’ll be talking to MROs about how they are tackling the challenge. 
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