Simon Witts, FRAeS, Founder, Aviation 360 & ENGAP UK CIC

Simon Witts graduated from Queen Mary University, London with a BSc (Hons) Avionics. A Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institute of Leadership & Management, he has a career involving many areas including aircraft and helicopter engineering, civil and military systems development, flight testing, aircraft certification (e.g. Boeing 777) and airline operations. He ran the operations side of the British Airways regional airline BA CitiExpress/BA Connect and has served as an Executive Director on the boards of five airlines. Latterly he founded and ran Aviation Skills Partnership until it was acquired in 2019 before founding Aviation 360 and ENGAP UK CIC. He is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive next generation of aviation professionals through fully embedding the required industry training into the education system at all levels.

Engaging the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals – the work of Project ENGAP

In January 2020, the most critical challenges facing our industry included:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Personnel Shortages
  • Keeping Ahead of Technology

These align with the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economical. Even before the pandemic, critical aspects of aviation were unsustainable. Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing future generation’s ability to meet their needs:

Covid-19 has disrupted the aviation sector on a global scale, stretching the industry to the breaking point.  However, downturns have happened before, and a recovery will follow.

This is not the time to pause innovation, but to mobilise to craft a sustainable future for the post-pandemic economic recovery.

There are three Global Challenges in Aviation Sustainability:

  • Global Challenge 1: Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Challenge 2: Global Personnel Shortage
  • Global Challenge 3: Keeping Ahead of Technology

Project ENGAP (Engaging the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals) was established in March 2020 by Dr Suzanne Kearns and Simon Witts following the publication of the book of the same name, edited by Suzanne with inputs from over 40 authors worldwide.

It has been created to confront and deal with the Global Challenges and has moved forward under three main initiatives through ENGAP Canada, ENGAP UK and ENGAP USA. These are:

  • Sustainability
  • Engagement
  • Research
  • Pathways
  • Facilities

This Paper will set out the aims, the work so far and engage an increasing number of organisations in our Global mission.

Fiona Greenyer

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