CAA Case study

Due to changes occurring in the industry, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) saw the need for a new IT system to be implemented, and consequently recognised the importance of providing necessary training to their staff to enable them to use it efficiently and with minimal disruption to on-going business.

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Background

Background

Background

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation, including public and private pilots, air traffic control, and aviation engineers amongst many others. Their role is vital in ensuring that all aspects of air travel are monitored and supported to ensure they are safe, effective and well managed, for the protection of both customers and those working in the field. As such their role is extremely diverse and ever expanding, and with a staff of over 500 working throughout the UK working on various different projects, the training requirements are considerably complex.

Problem

problem

The Problem

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

After a period of growth within the sector, the CAA recognised the need for a new, more robust IT system to help them monitor and regulate the aviation industry more effectively. This would therefore require all relevant staff (around 210) to receive training in how to use the new tool, and also why it was being implemented, all within a six month time-frame. However while The CAA are experts in the field of regulation and air travel, and could easily explain why the new tool was being implemented, and how it would impact staff, they were humble enough to recognise that they are not designated experts in IT systems and in order to provide the most cost-effective and useful learning solution, they would need the experience of an IT expert, especially as this was a bespoke system. They therefore recognised this to be a problem and began seeking a suitable provider with specialism in IT that could run the necessary training. But in order to do that, they needed someone who could really understand the system inside and out.

Solution

solution

The Solution

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

The essence of the solution was for one of our expert IT consultants to deliver the necessary training. However in reality the solution wasn’t as straightforward as simply hiring a trainer to deliver a pre-designed course; the system being implemented was tailor made for the CAA, based on their needs and user demands. Therefore in order for Thales Learning and Development to be able to deliver appropriate training, it was paramount for the designated consultant to fully understand every element of the new IT system. But more than this, in order to fully understand the IT system and its practical application, it was also vital that they understood the concepts, theory and rationale behind it too. Without these essential components, it would be impossible to have a full and complete appreciation of how the system was intended to work, or how to use it effectively for its specific purpose. Thus before any form of training could even be conceived, significant time was spent between TLD and The CAA discussing all of these issues and ensuring everyone had complete comprehension of the vision, and desired outcomes of the training, before our IT consultant began learning the system for himself. Only then could a training plan be devised and put into place.

Training

Training

The Training

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

Once the initial preparation stages had been completed, this allowed for TLD to provide the practical training to the CAA staff. The learning intervention was delivered onsite at the CAA, within their IT training suite, and was designed to ensure maximum effectiveness by limiting the number of delegates attending each session to allow for a more personal and targeted approach. The specific training for the IT system was only a small part of the day, with the remainder of the time looking at why the tool was being introduced, how it would be used, and the effect it was expected to have; this aspect of training was delivered directly by the CAA, ensuring they presented all the necessary information needed to understand the implications of the tool before learning how to use it. Once the theoretical background was covered, TLD provided the specialist IT training using the actual tool itself. This enabled staff to have hands on experience with the new system in a supported environment, allowing them the opportunity to try things out, make mistakes and ask questions. By delivering the training in this way, it provided a much more realistic experience and gave the staff a much better insight into the tool and the challenges they may face (and the solutions), ensuring a smoother transition when asked to use it for real. In addition to this, TLD also developed a workbook to complement the training, offering step by step guidance on each of the different aspects covered in the session. Staff therefore had additional support long-term to ensure any issues could be addressed quickly and in-house, although TLD remained on hand for any further questions should they be needed.

Challenge

Challenge

The Challenges

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

Large volume of people to train in a small timeframe

This was one of the biggest challenges both the CAA and TLD faced as trying to organise training to suit the needs of 210 people all in varying roles with busy schedules, unsurprisingly proved to be tricky, especially as the CAA had a defined end date they were aiming to meet. However both the CAA and TLD recognised how vital this training was to enable the effective on-going regulation of the aviation industry, and thus worked together to ensure every staff member were able to attend a session at a suitable time. To enable this to happen within the specified timeframe, TLD had to work flexibly to fit with the needs of the CAA and regular communication was necessary to ensure any changes or adjustments to the training schedule were approved by both parties. As a result the CAA have largely managed to meet their deadline, with only a very few sessions falling outside of the original end date.

On-going updates

Another problem faced during this project was that due to the short timeframe for rollout, the tool was still undergoing some minor adjustments while the training was being developed, this meant that occasionally the training content and related materials would need to be updated to reflect the changes made to the tool. This had potential to cause some issues if not managed effectively; however the CAA were excellent in making it clear that this was to be expected, and as such TLD were able to anticipate these adjustments and make any necessary changes quickly, with minimal disruption to the training being delivered.

Outcomes

Outcomes

The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s specialist regulatory body for all areas of aviation

At the time of writing, nearly all staff have received or are due to receive the relevant training by the deadline set by the CAA. Every staff member who took part in the session has been provided with the knowledge and skills to enable them to use the new system confidently, and also received a user guide to refer to should they encounter any difficulties. The feedback from individual delegates and the L&D team at the CAA has been overwhelmingly positive, reporting that the sessions met the training needs of the team and has enabled them to employ their new skills in a live setting with a much shorter transitional period than has been seen in the past.

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