|The aging aviation workforce is a global problem, even in a high-tech hub like Hamburg. But the city is trying harder than ever to attract young workers to northern Germany before next-generation aircraft roll off the production line. That’s why Hamburg engaged in a public-private partnership with Airbus and Lufthansa Technical Training to develop the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training, which opened in late May.
The 3,000-sq.-meter facility houses mechanic classes for 800 vocational students as well as engineering courses for more than 2,000 university students in aerospace engineering. Instructors from Airbus and Lufthansa Technical Training will offer classes to students through private and public institutions while they continue their separate training programs. Many of the courses encourage students to practice hands-on cabin modifications and design components—an opportunity made possible by an Airbus A300 fuselage section donated by Airbus.
Cristoph Meyerrose, managing director of Lufthansa Technical Training, says that his company is designing new courses especially for cabin component specialists. Although suppliers will provide some cabin systems for students to practice installing in the aircraft, the center will go a step further to teach them how to construct new prototypes.
“The purpose of the students being in the center is that they’re doing their own design and not getting material from companies,” says Meyerrose. The center also will offer extensive opportunities for both new and seasoned technicians to work with new materials like carbon fiber composites, which will make up much of future aircraft. Other courses on avionics and inflight entertainment devices will provide training on new types of electronic systems.
The team of aviation companies and institutions went to aviation clusters such as Toulouse, Montreal, and Seattle to draw inspiration for how to attract younger workers to the aviation industry. Meyerrose says it is important that Hamburg look beyond Germany for new students and focus on attracting interest from all over Europe.
“Companies need to understand the demographic situation is something we have to face and find methods to work against it,” says Meyerrose. “We have to open borders to let people come from other countries.”