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OTHER ARTICLES Last modified on May 7, 2018

Learning curve

Kevin Caron, ACI World’s director for capacity building programmes, explains how ACI’s training and development programmes can help airports enhance their capacity.

We often talk about the incredible value of training: when it is done right, it results in motivated employees who contribute to the success of our business, be it an airport, airline, air navigation service provider or civil aviation authority.

I would propose we consider a more holistic approach to training and contemplate the term ‘capacity building’.

Ensuring we are on the same page, I would refer to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) definition and then adapt their approach to how ACI provides capacity building to our members.

The UNDP defines capacity building as a “long-term continual process of development that involves all stakeholders; including ministries, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, professionals, community members, academics and more”.

It goes on: “Capacity building uses a country’s human, scientific, technological, organisational, and institutional and resource capabilities. The goal of capacity building is to tackle problems related to policy and methods of development, while considering the potential, limits and needs of the people of the country concerned.”

They further refine this definition into three levels that we have adapted at ACI to make this relevant to our role in serving our members.

Employee level

This requires the encouragement of conditions that allow individual participants (at all levels) to build and enhance knowledge and skills. This is defined by the various tools that learning and development professionals have at their disposal, such as training, staff exchanges and mentoring.

To meet this need, ACI provides classroom and online airport education and the training programmes. Under the auspices of capacity building, we have two other programmes:

– The Airport Excellence (APEX) Programme conducts peer reviews based on ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in safety and security, by sending airport experts from around the world to conduct a one-week on-site review.

– The Executive Leadership Exchanges Programme (ELEP). This new programme is being led by ACI’s five regional HR and Leadership Committees and is targeted at executive-level staff. ELEP, which will be launched this year, will aim to  have airports exchange executive staff to allow for peer-to-peer learning over a fixed period.

Airport organisation level

This involves supporting airport members, via committees and programmes in the process of enhancing their specific activities such as customer experience, safety and security. The organisational capacity building approach is used by airports to develop internally so they can better fulfil their defined mission.

Standing committees – These committees are mandated by the ACI Governing Board to provide guidance and council and help shape current policy issues for Governing Board endorsement in their areas of expertise.

Programmes – ACI has several programmes at benefit this organisational level such as the previously mentioned Airport Excellence (APEX) and Global Training.

Airport customer level

This supports the establishment of a more interactive public administration that learns equally from its actions and from the feedback it receives from the travelling public (i.e. the customers they serve).

ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer experience programme is the world-renowned and established global benchmarking programme that measures passengers’ satisfaction whilst they are travelling through an airport.

There are yearly ASQ forums which enable airport experts to exchange ideas with other industry experts on new and emerging trends in customer experience.

Our approach to capacity building has led us to take different approaches to provide as many learning opportunities as possible for both the individual and the airport member.

With this approach, ACI has embarked on a voyage that will set a course for increased success in achieving airport excellence for the foreseeable future.

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