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   In Conversation with Dr Michael Lim – Director of SAA

In February this year, the Singapore Aviation Academy (SAA) welcomed on board its new Director, Dr Michael Lim. From the Singapore Armed Forces to the education sector, Dr Lim brings with him vast experience in leadership and training.

You have an interesting career background. How does that help in your current appointment?

SAA offers a comprehensive suite of training programmes in various disciplines through its four schools – School of Aviation Management, School of Aviation Safety and Security, School of Air Traffic Services
and School of Airport Emergency Services. With participants from over 200 countries and territories, managing an academy with this diversity can be very complex. I believe my career background has prepared me to manage this strategically and holistically, to achieve our vision of being the world’s premier centre of learning in civil aviation.

My background in education also reinforced my understanding of curriculum development and effective pedagogy. This comes in particularly useful in bolstering SAA’s effectiveness in providing training
and continuing education for professionals in the aviation industry. With the global initiative to engage the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) who are technology-savvy and used to a fast-paced
environment, we are looking at ways to improve the effectiveness of our programme delivery, specifically in areas such as the structure of course curricula and the adoption of learning technologies.

In your opinion, what has shaped aviation safety training in the last decade?

We have seen revolutionary growth in air travel. At the same time, the emerging challenge is to maintain and improve the safety record, finding new innovative ways to ensure that air transport remains
sustainable. These developments in aviation suggest the need for a systematic approach to enhance aviation safety, underpinned by ICAO Standards and new industry requirements.

New training approaches and methodologies have therefore evolved to meet these demands. The aviation community acknowledges the vital role effective training plays in leveling the varied content knowledge, expertise and experience of aviation professionals. The skills and experience these aviation professionals need to perform their more sophisticated jobs would require greater coordination and prioritisation among aviation stakeholders. We are seeing more collaborative efforts in the aviation community to ensure that the wide range of formal training programmes available in the world contributes to the enhancement of global aviation safety.

Can you share with us, a key development in aviation safety training?

Safety is of paramount concern in this industry. As such, aviation safety training is key to ensuring safe air transport operations. Globally, there are currently differing standards for aviation safety training. This is because the global aviation landscape is complex and is subjected to the differing needs of States. To move ahead, there needs to be some standardisation of the aviation training, so as to establish a common baseline of aviation safety.

In this regard, ICAO has established the TRAINAIR PLUS training framework to strengthen the international aviation training network by facilitating the development and sharing of high quality and affordable Standardised Training Packages (STPs). As a TRAINAIR PLUS full member, SAA aims to contribute towards the common goal of elevating global aviation training standards by developing educational resources and sharing valuable knowledge with the aviation community.

I hope to see SAA continuing to play our part in providing the most relevant aviation safety training that will enhance global aviation safety.

In the next issue, Dr Lim will share his views on the upcoming challenges facing the aviation industry and the impact of aviationsafety training on the other fields of aviation training.

Article was first published in The Leading Edge issue 04/2012.



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