Akin Oni, MD Bristtow
One of the foremost helicopter companies in Nigeria, Bristow has earmarked $4.8 million (N758.4 million) to train 16 indigenous pilots this year, both in Nigeria and overseas, planning to expend $300, 000 on each pilot trainee.
The Managing Director of the company, Akin Oni, who made this known in Lagos, said it had been the policy of the company since 22 years ago to train indigenous manpower for the industry and every year bright young Nigerians are selected with impeccable criteria and sent for training.
Oni, who was represented by the Head of Human Resources, Femi Collins, during the meeting with journalists, said the beneficiaries, who already have initial training with private pilot licence (PPL) would be taken to Bristow’s training academy in Florida, United States.
“We have cultivated the culture and we are the highest in rotary division of the aviation industry in the training of Nigerians. We do this every year. Out of the 2,000 candidates that applied for the training, 16 were selected and they are being given briefing before they depart for their training,” he said.
Bristow will train those who did not have initial training at the International Aviation College, Ilorin and the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (NCAT) before they would be taken overseas for further training, while those with PPL would be taken to Florida.
Oni said that the company was using local training schools in order to deepen the local content policy of the federal government.
Bristow noted that its goal was to ensure that over time local pilots and engineers would dominate the manpower index in the aviation sector, noting that many of the pilots in Nigeria today working for different airlines and other organisations benefitted from Bristow training scheme.
“We have been doing this for years now. Our managing director and others in the management of this company have benefitted from the scheme,” it stated.
Among the 16 young Nigerians selected were three women and the company said its selection process was “professional and rigorous.”
“These lucky Nigerians are a pride to this nation. Our selection is professional and rigorous. They are a pride to their parents. Our target is to have 100 per cent of Nigerians in our company and in the technical section of the aviation industry. Today it is a dream because we still have a lot of expatriates in Nigeria. Some of these trained pilots leave our company but deploy their skills in other airlines in the country.”
Oni also said Bristow had helped NCAT in the last three years to improve the training the school offers to Nigerians, adding that the company signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the College and had sent 32 students to the school, while 20 others are waiting to the college.
“We have elected to renovate two classrooms with modern equipment. We are going to send helicopter to the school to enhance training and increase capacity. We have also sent four lecturers to the institution for training of trainers,” he explained.