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SkyPeople Training sees demand soar

Students undergo training in a smoke-filled aircraft cabin at SkyPeople Training's facility in Manchester

A specialist training provider is seeing demand take off as it helps the aviation industry tackle a huge global shortage of cabin crew.

According to Canadian flight crew training company CAE’s 2023 Aviation Talent Forecast, almost 600,000 cabin crew staff will be needed globally over the next 10 years.

Ryanair alone has unveiled plans to recruit 10,000 staff over the next decade as it expands its fleet with hundreds of new aircraft.

SkyPeople Training has seen dramatic growth in demand this year for the hands-on programmes it runs for students from colleges and universities across the UK which are educating the next generation of cabin crew.


So far in 2024, SkyPeople Training has worked with more than 40 UK colleges and universities and more than 25 airlines across the UK and Europe. The number of college and university students attending its sessions so far this year is approaching 1,000 and has nearly trebled compared with the same period in 2023.

SkyPeople Training, which delivers courses across the UK and internationally, has expanded its bespoke aviation training academy in Manchester as a result of the increase in student numbers attending the facility, where it also provides training for existing cabin crew and pilots employed by passenger and cargo airlines worldwide.

Its training includes theory and practical sessions on how to tackle a number of emergency situations on board, such as firefighting, smoke-filled cabins and evacuations.
It has recently added a new classroom at its academy as well as a mid-exit door for the Boeing 737 Max jet, with an entire replica Boeing 737 flight deck due to come later in the year.

The business is accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority as a cabin crew training organisation and security training provider, with a rating of ‘outstanding’.

This accreditation enables SkyPeople Training to provide the Attestation of Initial Cabin Crew safety training. All cabin crew working on UK-registered aircraft must possess the qualification.

SkyPeople Training also supports airlines by developing their training manuals, designing their training courses and delivering the product directly to their crew.

It has won recognition from industry experts in crew training, with invitations to deliver keynote speeches at events in the United States, Portugal and Vietnam.

Mike Lawson, SkyPeople’s training, project and outreach manager, said aspiring cabin crew benefit greatly from the hands-on experience they gain at the company’s academy.
“Recruitment is a significant challenge for airlines, and our academy is helping them to plug the gaps in their workforce,” he said.

“There’s an evolution in the way cabin crew training is delivered, shifting towards being competency-based. Historically, entrants had to take a paper examination and undergo an assessment.

“Hands-on experience is now seen as an increasingly necessary part of the curriculum for students looking to embark on their cabin crew careers. Providing that in our academy helps get the students ready for a professional working environment.

“This type of practical training is also beneficial for those already working in the industry who are seeking to gain the Cabin Crew Attestation or looking to grow in their careers.
“It’s an attractive career that provides long-term, meaningful opportunities. Our track record over more than a decade, combined with the recent additional facilities at the academy, means we are in a strong position to help bridge the gap between education and industry.

“Our close ties with a number of leading carriers enables us to help students find cabin crew roles once they successfully complete their courses, as they can register their interest in jobs that become available through our links with airlines.

“In 2023, we mentored a group of final-year aviation management students at Manchester Metropolitan University, getting them industry-ready and linking them to employment opportunities.

“In addition, this June we will be hosting our second Travel & Tourism, Aviation and Cabin Crew Lecturers Conference, which will be an opportunity for college lecturers from across the UK to join us for a day of CPD training delivered by ourselves and our airline partners, including Aer Lingus UK, British Airways and Ryanair’s recruitment partner Cabin Crew International.

“The recent investment to expand the academy demonstrates our confidence in the future of the business and our commitment to providing the most up-to-date training to enhance safety and competence across the industry.

“We’re extremely proud of our facility, which through continuous improvement we believe makes it the best independently-owned training centre of its kind in the UK, if not Europe.”

Donna Feeny, Head of Travel, Food and Drink at Leeds City College, said: “Our strong employer partnership with SkyPeople allows our students to experience first- class industry training. The skills they learn during their training fosters a seamless transition into a career in aviation.”

SkyPeople, which has eight permanent team members and a flexible network of 80 trainers, was acquired last year by Manchester-headquartered EDM, which manufactures and assembles training simulators for sectors including civil aviation, defence and rail industries.