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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Higher skills for a busy aviation sector

A ground-staff member walks past a plane preparing for take-off at Phnom Penh International Aiport.
A ground-staff member walks past a plane preparing for take-off at Phnom Penh International Airport. Heng Chivoan

Higher skills for a busy aviation sector

In its first two months of regular operation Cambodia’s first civil aviation training centre has provided certificates to dozens of aviation officials and airport staff, helping to raise the skill level of personnel in the Kingdom’s fast-expanding aviation sector.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said the $10.1 million facility, built with South Korean funding and supervision, held its first training course in early February ahead of its official opening last week.

He said the specialised training centre has already provided certificates to 40 aviation officials and airport staff, with another 47 participants due to complete their coursework next week.

“This is our first training centre and it will help us quickly improve the capacity of our aviation personnel,” he said yesterday.

The Cambodia Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC) was built with two lofty goals in mind: to enhance the skills of the 10,000 Cambodians already working in the aviation field, and to provide opportunities for high school graduates looking to enter the fast-growing sector.

Passenger traffic at the Kingdom’s three airports has tripled over the past five years, topping 7 million in 2016, increasing the role of aviation regulators and airport staff, and creating thousands of new jobs in the sector. Courses offered by the state-run CATC cover airport security, air navigation services, air traffic control and airport management. Instructors also provide lessons on specialised English aviation vocabulary.

Vutha said the chief benefit of the facility is the cost and time savings of providing the training on home soil.

“The training centre helps to cut out the expenses of sending officials overseas for training, as well as save time and improve the quality of our human resources,” he said.

A total of 18 courses are scheduled through the end of the year, providing training to over 200 SSCA officials and staff of Cambodia Airports, the company that manages the Kingdom’s three international airports.

“This is standard training using local trainers who received accreditation abroad as well as trainers from South Korea,” he said. “In future, we will upgrade our training to satisfy ICAO standards and open the courses to the public.”

Lim Kao, deputy CEO of Cambodia Angkor Air, said demand was high among local private airlines for skilled human resources.

“It would be helpful for airline companies because as we grow we need qualified flight and cabin crews to fill the demand,” he said.

“Currently the training centre’s courses don’t offer much for airline companies, but we hope it will offer new courses in response to the sector’s demands.”

Khin Nay, an employee of Cambodia Airports who recently completed an airport security training course at the CATC, said that the professional training sharpened his skill set.

“The training was productive and included current aviation literature and modern equipment, showing me the cockpit and demonstrating proper security techniques,” he said.

“By completing this training I learned how to better control risks and ensure the security of passengers.”

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