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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201600018
Date reported 10 February 2016
Concern title Training received by at staff at the operators control centre
Concern summary

The concern related to the training received by staff at the operators ground control centre monitoring flight dispatch, crewing and customer recovery.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Other

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the training received by staff in the operator’s control centre.

The reporter advised that:

  1. The training for new staff members has been reduced significantly in recent times from a training timeframe requiring months to now requiring only weeks to complete.
  2. Staff members do not have a complete understanding of the systems they are using and the interactions between each area. This means that safety critical information, such as weather, aircraft swaps, passenger number changes etc., is not being passed to other areas.
  3. Staff members do not receive non-technical training as is required by CAAP SMS-3(1) – Non-Technical Skills Training and Assessment for Regular Public Transport Operations.

The reporter advised that low staff numbers and a high staff turnover have exacerbated this problem as the staff on shift are often under-trained which increases the other staff members’ workloads – often meaning that the team (often new themselves) are training new members on the job.

Although the staff members receive competency-based training, on the safety management system (SMS), they are often unaware of how to submit a safety report and what is reportable under the legislation. The submitting of safety reports in not encouraged by management.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

Please find the responses to the points raised in this ATSB REPCON. In addition, the attachments are in support of the responses to these points.

  1. The training for new staff members has been technically reduced in recent years but only insofar as that there is now a much more formalised training package available. Some examples of this are:
  • Dedicated training is only delivered by Senior Operations Controllers (x4)
  • Operations Training Manual (previously did not exist)
  • Operations Refresher Training Manual (previously did not exist)
  • A formal training sign-off process adopted
  • Additional training is available to all team members
  • Training is ‘Tailored’ around previous experience levels (see next points)
  • Most recruitment now comes from a junior Ops position (Operations Officer) meaning progressing staff are already partially experienced
  • To support above, experienced Operations Controllers have been recruited internationally
  • New experienced staff joining the Operations Team have between 5 and 15 years relevant experience
  • Most new junior (Ops Officer) staff are being recruited with a combination of relevant Aviation experience and with Aviation Degree qualifications
  1. There is no information to support this statement. New staff training covers all aspects of the suite of systems used by operations staff. This includes the relevant processes required to acquit all ops functions. In addition, we adopt a policy that new staff are not ‘cleared to line’ unless both they and their trainer are happy that the training has been satisfactorily completed and sign to state this.
  1. 2015 did see a higher than normal staff turnover, however, in addition to the above points, an increase in staffing levels was approved in 2015 and by mid-2016 the additional heads above previous levels will be fully trained and embedded.

As previously stated, all training is overseen, delivered and signed off by senior members of staff.

The operations and crewing area are subject to rigorous CASA and operator audits. Training and staffing levels have featured in previous years but all findings and observations have been fully satisfied.

There is no information to support the statement that staff do not know how to submit safety reports or that this is not encouraged. All operations and crewing staff know how to submit a safety report in the SMS. This is covered as part of their basic company induction training. The submitting of safety reports is fully encouraged by all levels of management.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the matters raised in the REPCON and is satisfied with the operator’s response.

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Last update 12 July 2018