KAMPALA – Hundreds of students had the chance to learn about careers in aviation on Friday as Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) celebrated the “International Air Traffic Controllers Day at Old Kampala Secondary School.
Mr. Richard Ruhesi, the Director Air Navigation Services at UCAA urged parents to encourage their children to take up available opportunities in Aviation sector.
“The industry needs pilots, mechanics, engineers and air traffic controllers — so there’s no shortage of impactful and rewarding career paths,” he said adding that “We have seen that most young people shy away from the aviation profession especially ladies.”
In Uganda, he said we have only 10 female qualified Air Traffic Controllers, 8 of whom are civilians and the other two are from UPDF.
“We hope that after this career talk, they are motivated to continue exploring all the industry has to offer.”
The aviation industry, he said, is rapidly growing and has a potential of absorbing many young people into a variety of jobs.
On his part, Mr. Fred Bamwesigye, the Deputy Director General UCAA noted that aviation as a profession requires the highest level of commitment, dedication and seriousness.
He urged students to start embracing aviation when they are still at their early learning stages.
“It’s not too late for you students to start embracing aviation; you have to start now so that everything will be a walk over when the time of you joining aviation comes.
“This work is rarely spoken of, only noticed when it is brought to a halt,” Bamwesigye noted.
“We recognize their work and what it means that we do not often hear about it — their jobs are well done.”
He said acknowledging the international day was a great chance to pay tribute to the commitment of controllers and operational staff to their safe and efficient delivery of air traffic management.
“We have controllers on duty every hour of every day, 365 days a year to provide a vital service in helping travellers reach their destination safely and efficiently,” Mr Bamwesigye said.
“The International Day of the Air Traffic Controller is a great chance not only for us to recognise the efforts of our staff, but for the travelling public to consider the critical role controllers play in keeping them safe in the skies.
“I would like to thank all of our controllers and the staff that support them for the job that they do in keeping our aviation system running smoothly and making air travel one of the safest modes of transport in the world.”
Julian Amutuhaire a senior three student at Old Kampala, called on executives from top aerospace and aviation companies to attract more women, saying this could help solve looming shortages of pilots, mechanics and top managers in the traditionally male-dominated sector.
The industries are coming under scrutiny because of the low numbers of women employed as senior executives or airline pilots. At the same time, a growing shortage of pilots is putting the sector’s recent growth at risk.
UCAA air traffic controllers are responsible for managing the safe and orderly flow of aircraft into the airspace. Each year, the controllers ensure the safe arrival and departure of more than 1.9 million passengers across all the flights, with these numbers expected to increase in the next years.
Controllers also play a key role in implementing safety enhancements and measures to reduce delays for passengers, improving efficiency and reducing fuel burn for airline customers.
Air services 1000 air traffic controllers are highly trained, undergoing 18 months of initial training, followed by regular and ongoing training throughout their career.