There is exciting fresh talent taking to the skies today as five newly qualified drone pilots celebrate at a graduation ceremony hosted by The Academy of Aviation and Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET). All five students are beneficiaries of education funding from CRET.
Velile Mngoma, Amanjee Moosa, Azwindini Mugari, Braiden Kitching and Jayden Brink are part of a fully sponsored drone pilot training programme as part of development careers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These specially trained pilots are part of a growing demand worldwide. PwC estimates that commercial applications of drone technology and flight have a market value of $127 billion globally. Considering the first drone pilot license on the continent was only issued five years ago, it is remarkable that new graduates are being produced in a career path that didn’t exist until recently.
The graduates come from vastly different backgrounds, but all are looking forward to building stable careers in the aviation industry. As Amanjee Moosa reflects, “Being able to have a chance to fly fills me with motivation.”
At today’s small graduation ceremony, the five graduates will demonstrate their pilot skills and receive their official certificates of qualification. This will open doors for them to work as a precision agriculture surveyor, search and rescue drone operator, drone flight instructor or drone mechanic. These career paths are available in a wide variety of sectors from construction and conservation to mining and public safety.
Chantelle Oosthuizen, Executive Director of CRET, is proud of what the future holds for these graduates.
“As with all of our CRET graduates, it is an exciting moment to see them spread their wings and fly off into the world – this is quite literal for our aviation students. CRET isn’t just for university education. The program exists to support and develop well-grounded graduates who grow to be leaders, who are of service to their community, and who have the skills to build a prosperous future. This can be done through a variety of education pathways, be it university, technical or vocational training. What we can see from this success is that young people need more options and help to get the necessary skills for new careers in a digital era.” she said.
Just 6% of the South African population have university degrees. A further 6% have diplomas and 3.4% hold technical and vocational education and training (TVET) certificates. Because South African society typically associates success with university education, vocational or technical training doesn’t get the necessary attention or respect it deserves for yielding valuable and often sought-after skills.
CRET is committed to promoting alternative skills development routes in addition to university study. The organisation promotes technical and vocational education as well as entrepreneurship as career choices. The organisation’s partnership with The Academy of Aviation is only a year old but has also produced 10 graduates with Civil Aviation Authority licenses who have completed internships with the ExecuJet Aviation Group and Lanseria Airport. To date, CRET has assisted 213 skills development training beneficiaries through various programmes.