By Tania du Toit
Any aviation experience and/or qualification gained or obtained in South Africa should make your CV internationally acceptable provided that you make sure that you get your local training from accredited and respected parties and provided that you strictly comply with all professional guidelines for staying employable (for example, keeping flying hours up to date, passing medical examinations and reviewing licences). Aviation and any specific work in connection with it imply non-negotiable safety, excellence and the highest standards, and the latter stays the same internationally.
Should you, in addition, qualify as a pilot with any of the well-known South African airlines, such as the SAA, your qualification is automatically accepted internationally. The SAA, like other airlines, is one of the most progressive international airlines in the industry and to be a member of their aircrew is a much sought-after career opportunity in the commercial aviation sector. Inevitably airplanes (also) move around internationally and they will definitely not be allowed there if relevant qualifications and training are questioned.
Pilots of the SAA form an integral part of an operational network with a reputation for world-class safety, efficiency and client service. Pilots have the ongoing benefit of career development opportunities and are kept on their toes through specific guidelines, stipulations, compulsory flying and resting hours, as well as compulsory medical examinations. Because of the non-negotiable premium on safety this type of career makes no allowance for errors and slackness. It is logical that any well-trained pilot who satisfies all requirements and measures can work any place in the world on condition that all local requirements of other countries are also satisfied. Actually, this applies to any professional career.
Cabin crew, such as air hostesses, have licences that are awarded after strict training courses. If they want to fly internationally, they must qualify for it. If they want to fly for a registered foreign airline, their licences must first be ratified in the relevant country. In this process a valid, accredited South African qualification or licence will definitely carry weight. An applicable CV and any work-specific experience will also help to get work internationally.
Other aviation-related professions, for instance those of (any kind of) engineer, technical ground personnel, training officers, human resources or whatever, carry the same weight as any other specific professional South African qualification. For that reason potential international work possibilities will always be within reach depending on a specific country’s policy regarding immigrants or foreign employment practices or conditions.
The contents of your CV and applicable work experience are also instrumental in successful international employment. Any accredited South African aviation qualification and training are acceptable and applicable internationally, provided that all other requirements are satisfied. If you want to spread your professional wings, it could be to your benefit if you could broaden your language offer, depending on where you want to go. In addition to English (compulsory for all aviation careers) and perhaps one or two local South African languages, you could perhaps start working on Spanish, French, German or Mandarin. Multilingualism is an asset not only in aviation. It is good in any professional capacity and is also an extension of yourself as a person and will be useful at many levels throughout your life.
Rest assured: Your choice of an accredited aviation-based career in South Africa should keep you employable in the international labour market.
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