CIT hasenrolled 120 students – all of them commercial pilots - on its innovative Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in International Business with Aviation Studies, a European first.
It’s part of their efforts to highlight what it calls the critical role of the aviation sector to the Cork region and to help one of the sectors hit hardest by Covid-19.
The programme was designed as a platform for pilots, many of whom don’t have the opportunity to avail of third level qualifications due to the nature of their work and the intensity of their initial and ongoing training, to develop skills in business. These skills are intended to aid the pilot’s wider knowledge of the aviation business as well as a wide range of business sectors.
Dr Pio Fenton, head of marketing and international business at CIT, said: ‘The aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit sectors locally, nationally, and internationally. As an enabling business it is critical that those working in aviation, and the sector itself, are supported so that when the opportunity arises the region can spring back into life as quickly as possible. CIT is determined to do what it can to support this.’
He added: ‘Pilots invest heavily in their careers. The current disruption was unimaginable just six months ago. Being able to offer an educational offering that takes account of their specific career needs is something we are very proud of.’
One of the key players nationally in aviation is Cork-based Atlantic Flight Training Academy. It’s led by Captain Mark Casey who said the development of the degree programme has been transformational for both flight school graduates and experienced professional pilots that do not have the flexibility to attend full time tuition, or scheduled lectures, due to time zone synchronisation and rotating roster barriers. ‘CIT embraced the multiple challenges that this presented to the individual from the ‘get-go’ and have developed and successfully delivered a world class product for the industry,’ he added.
Dr Barry O’Connor, president of CIT, spoke of their commitment to ensuring that the pillars of the aviation sector in Cork are not forgotten in this time of upheaval.
‘Cork Airport is the most critical piece of transport infrastructure in the Munster region. The multi-national company base in Cork has developed so powerfully as a result partly of the direct and gateway opportunities that Cork Airport offers to the world. For Cork to succeed, Cork Airport has to succeed. It will be critical to this region in the years to come and it must be enabled to unlock the continued potential of the region. The work of the Aviation Task Force, which reported in July, must be built upon.’