Last week the International Civil Aviation Organisation gave a boost to manpower development in the aviation sector by elevating the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria training school into international training centre for aviation security to cater for West and Central Africa, writes Chinedu Eze
To ensure that aviation professionals, especially in the area of security are trained to meet international requirements to secure the airports from terror attacks and other illicit incursions, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) last week inaugurated the ICAO Aviation Security Training Centre (ASTC) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport MMIA), Lagos.
The centre would be under the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), which successfully met the stringent standard set out by the global institution for such training centre located at different parts of the world.
The objective of the training centre is to ensure that aviation security professionals are instilled with uniform skills and knowledge to be able to protect and secure the airports and the new training centre under FAAN management would now cater for the security training of aviation institutions in West and Central Africa.
To further reinforce the importance of the training centre, the British Government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on aviation security with FAAN for the development of manpower, especially Aviation Security Personnel (AVSEC) in the sector. In selecting FAAN’s training school, which hitherto catered for different types of training for the agency.
Centre of Excellence
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, said the objective of the centre is to contribute to the development of manpower, adding that it is also expected to meet the training needs of the West and Central Africa sub-regions and even beyond.
Dunoma said the establishment of a training centre by ICAO in the agency is very important because the centre is now based on three things: providing safety, security and facilitation training.
“So today we are happy that the school is being recognised by ICAO International School of Aviation as a training centre for West and Central sub-regions. We are very happy that we have reached this this stage in this era where aviation security is being improved globally. There are several trainings going on all over the world and FAAN becoming a training centre now; there are several trainings we will organise from here. It is not only for FAAN staff alone; it is also for the aviation institutions in West and Central Africa,” Dunoma said.
Before the upgrade by ICAO, the FAAN Managing Director said the school was being used as FAAN’s internal training facility where programmes were organised to train the agency’s staff, not only in aviation security but also in other departments including engineering, ICT and business development.
“But today the school has moved a step ahead by becoming a centre of excellence for aviation security training in the West and Central Africa sub-regions. We have enough manpower and they are personnel who are certified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) or by ICAO and we have enough space in the training facility. But mostly now we are going to have only professional courses in aviation.
“The big advantage is that we will train our people in large numbers, which will save us foreign exchange because we will no more travel overseas for some of the training. It is also cheaper for our neighbours in West and Central Africa to come here and do the training,” Dunoma also said.
Global Training Centre
The Director General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, said the endorsement of the school by ICAO showed that FAAN was ready to contribute to the ICAO global aviation security training programme and that the agency has been meeting the expectation of the international aviation body, which is known for its stringent standards on aviation safety, security and other standard practices.
Usman expressed appreciation to ICAO for the endorsement of the school after a successful evaluation process, which proved that FAAN Aviation Training School was ready to contribute to the ICAO global aviation security training programme.
“The request for the designation of FAAN AVSEC Training School as an ICAO Aviation Security Training Centre was made on June 8, 2017 after which an evaluation by ICAO was conducted in May 2018 by the Regional Security Officer for Western and Central African Office (WACAF) and under 24 months, the request was granted,” he said.
While thanking ICAO for the privilege, Usman said the reason for the request for an ASTC was purely for the provision of AVSEC training courses to cater for the English speaking states in the West Africa Sub-region.
“In furtherance of our position on this request, I wish to inform ICAO that presently in Nigeria, there are five certified ICAO AVSEC Instructors and over 60 qualified national AVSEC instructors that can be of service at the ASTC.
“It is hoped that the designation of the FAAN training school as an ICAO ASTC will attract patronage from the airport communities of the West Africa sub-region and its environs thereby contributing to the development and improvement of aviation security training in the region and elsewhere,” he said.
Competence Based Training
Also speaking, ICAO Regional Director, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow said one of the main pillars of ICAO’s aviation training policy is the recognition of training organizations. He added that during assessment of the orgnisation, ICAO validates the entity to provide competency-based training and to manage it in a manner that effectively provides the training of aviation professionals with the appropriate skills.
He said: “With the recognition of the ASTC of Nigeria, the network of aviation security training centres (ASTC) now includes 35 centres wisely distributed in all ICAO regions, to provide aviation security training at the international (ICAO), regional and national levels to all categories of personnel involved or responsible for implementation of security measures, policies and procedures in accordance with its strategic objectives to improve the level of implementation of Annex 17 Standards.”
He added further that “the certificate of recognition issued by ICAO to the ASTC of Nigeria means that it has been duly demonstrated that the Centre meets the general and specific requirements in this respect, and that is able to continue to meet such requirement during the period of validity of the certificate of recognition. Marinating the certificate therefore requires all stakeholders to redouble their efforts through the implementation of a coherent and comprehensive monitoring programme.”
Sait Jallow said all ICAO-sponsored training is delivered through the ASTC network conducted by certified ICAO instructors.
“ICAO overseas the quality of AVSEC training delivered by the ASTC network through the certification of these instructors and the recognition of training centres, based on general criteria for establishing and maintaining recognition as an AVSEC training centre of ICAO, in accordance with the ICAO Training Policy,” he said.
Encouraging Contracting States
The global body explained that because air transport is global and meets defined standards, the organisation embarks on supporting ICAO Contracting States in resolving significant security deficiencies identified through the ICAO Aviation Security Audit Programme (USAP), and to assist them in their efforts to implement Standards and Recommended Practices of Annex 9 and Annex 17.
This support enables states to meet their aviation security obligations through the promotion of partnerships and coordination of assistance between states, industry, international financial institutions and various other stakeholders.
One of the major activities of Implementation Support and Development Section (Security; ISD-SEC) is the provision of assistance to the Member States in support of their efforts to rectify deficiencies identified under the Universal Security Audit Programme − Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA) and to comply with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
ICAO’s aviation security-related assistance and capacity-building activities are delivered under the framework of the Aviation Security Assistance and Capacity Building Strategy. This Strategy lays out a framework under which the aviation security needs of member states are identified, and a roadmap to an effective national aviation security system compliant with SARPs is implemented.
“The success of this strategy is centered on Aviation Security Improvement Plans (ASIPs) that are developed in partnership between ICAO and the assisted state, and incorporate a role for other assistance providers, such as regional organisations and other.
In order to further develop regionalised aviation security assistance to States and continue to foster regional cooperation and partnerships, Regional Officers – Aviation Security and Facilitation (ROs-ASF) have been recruited for the Bangkok, Cairo, Dakar, Lima, Mexico City, Nairobi and Paris Regional Offices. ROs-ASF serves as the primary focal point for States requiring assistance with respect to audits and general assistance in the implementation of Annex 17,” ICAO said.
Training Focal Point
The global body said these centres have also assumed the responsibility of being the operational focal point for all training activities within their respective regions. Additionally, they actively provide ISD-SEC with advice regarding regional training needs and regionalized assistance.
The centres also provide training support to regional, sub-regional and national security training efforts by overseeing the development of appropriate training packages and providing support to ICAO endorsed training centres in the development and delivery of training programmes.
ICAO said states continue to face various challenges regarding the implementation of ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which impact a safe, secure, efficient, economically viable and environmentally sound air transport system. The aims of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative, which was launched in December 2014, are to: support States in the effective implementation of ICAO’s SARPs, policies, plans and programmes in a globally harmonised manner; promote the resolution of significant safety concerns (SSCs) and significant security concerns (SSeCs); and promote and implement all of ICAO’s assistance activities.
“The NCLB objectives are implemented through ICAO’s day-to-day operations, ranging from advocating the benefits of aviation for States, and developing dedicated tools and services, to collaborative efforts and partnerships,” the international organisation said.
The General Manager, Training, FAAN, Mrs. Ann Agbedo said with the adoption of FAAN’s school as ICAO training centre, programmes offered in the school would be of uniform standard to what is obtained in any part of the world with the aim to equip AVSEC personnel with the same global skills and knowledge to protect the nation’s airports is achieved.