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Aviation

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Aviation sector, which is a component of the Transport industry.

The Aviation industry underpins Australian business and tourism and has an estimated annual revenue of $44.79 billion, and added $15.73 billion to the Australian economy in 2016.  During 2016 the Aviation sector carried over sixty million domestic passengers and there was nearly one million tonnes of international scheduled air freight traffic.  The industry employs more than 88,000 people across its five main subsectors:

  • Domestic Commercial Aviation
  • International Commercial Aviation
  • General Aviation
  • Air-freight Transport 
  • Aviation Support Infrastructure.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required in the Aviation sector in job roles such as:

  • Aerodrome Operations
  • Airport Safety
  • Ground Operations
  • Cargo Services
  • Aviation Transport Protection
  • Aviation Search and Rescue
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Flight Operations (Pilots – aeroplane, helicopter, commercial, military, remote and pilot in command)
  • Flight Instruction.

Nationally recognised training for the Aviation sector is delivered under the AVI Aviation Training Package.

For information on the Rail, Maritime, Aerospace and Transport and Logistics sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Aviation IRC Skills Forecast 2017.

IRC and Skills Forecast

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industry has increased steadily between 2000 and 2017 with a further increase projected until 2022. The Air and Space Transport industry has seen fluctuations in employment levels over the same time period however the overall trend has been upwards which is projected to continue until 2022.

Air Transport Professionals and Travel attendants made up 15% and 14% respectively of the combined Air and Space Transport; and Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industry workforces.  Employment in both of these occupations is projected to increase over the next over the next few years.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were over 4,000 program enrolments in the Aviation Training Package during 2016 and approximately 1,450 completions.  Both program enrolments and completions have increased between 2014 and 2016 however subject-only (no qualification) enrolments have decreased slightly over the same period.  Nearly 40% of enrolments during 2016 were at the diploma or higher level.  Just under half of enrolments were in Commercial Pilot; and Instrument Flight Operations qualifications.  Air Transport Professionals and Travel attendants were the main intended occupations for the training.

For enrolments during 2016 private training providers delivered approximately two thirds of all qualifications, a further fifth were provided by TAFE, with rest delivered by enterprise training providers.  However there was variance in provider type between the discrete qualification clusters with over half of Cabin Crew / Flight Operations qualifications provided by TAFE whereas for Commercial Pilot / Instrument Flight Operations over 80% of training was delivered by private training providers.

For 2016, over 70% of subjects delivered by TAFE were government funded however for the other provider types the majority of subjects were funded by domestic fee for service.  Nearly two thirds of students who enrolled during 2016 were from the eastern states.

During 2016, there were 191 apprenticeship commencements and 56 completions in the Aviation Training Package.  Commencements declined sharply between 2012 and 2014 before increasing moderately over the next two years until 2016.  Completions increased between 2010 and 2014 but have declined significantly since.  As at December 2016 over 40% of apprentice training took place in New South Wales; with 24% in Tasmania; and 22% in Queensland.

Apprentices undertaking the Flight Operations; and Commercial Pilot Aeroplane Licence qualifications were training towards the intended occupations of Travel Attendants; and Air Transport Professionals respectively.  For the Ground Operations and Service qualifications the intended occupation was Mobile Plant Operators (other).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Aviation IRC Skills Forecast 2017 there are several trends in the Aviation sector set to create demand for new jobs and skills: 

  • Regional economic growth, higher disposable incomes in emerging markets and a growing number of people in Australia that were born overseas are factors that are driving greater demand for international aviation.
  • Emerging technologies to streamline and automate manual processes are creating demand for digital skills within the workforce.
  • The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s aviation safety regulation reform is likely to have an ongoing impact on Aviation sector businesses, training organisations and the workforce.

The Aviation IRC Skills Forecast 2017 identifies the top five priority skills for the Aviation workforce in the next three to five years as:

  • technical
  • collaboration/social skills
  • piloting
  • commercial
  • compliance.

Additionally the top five generic skills in order of importance are listed as:

  • managerial/leadership
  • technology
  • science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM)
  • design mindset/thinking critically/system thinking/solving problems
  • communication/virtual collaboration/social intelligence.

The Australian Aviation Associations Forum - Aviation Policy 2016 highlights a looming skills shortage in the Aviation sector brought about by the reduction in apprentices; and an ageing workforce.  The policy argues that Australia has a major opportunity to develop a coordinated Federal and State/Territory aviation training program to meet the demand for aircrew, maintenance, airport services, and related skills over the coming decades both domestically and for the growing Aviation industry sector in the Asia Pacific.  Recommendations to realise Australia’s training potential include:

  • Closer partnership between government and industry to foster and promote aviation training opportunities.
  • The integration of aviation training into more numerous and geographically available trade courses such as the automotive trades that logically share certain competencies.

There is already evidence of skill shortages within the Aviation sector.  For example, according to the Aviation IRC Skills Forecast 2017 two thirds of employers in the sector reported experiencing a skills shortage during the last 12 months.  The job roles related to the skills shortages were:

  • Trainers/Instructors – all types
  • Aviation Maintenance Engineers
  • Aerodrome personnel (e.g. Reporting Officer, Work Safety Officer, WHS Co-ordinators/Managers)
  • Personnel with experience in new technology (both workers and instructors).

Reasons employers indicated for the shortage in order of frequency were:

  • shortage of skilled/qualified personnel
  • ageing workforce/current staff retiring
  • remuneration/employment conditions
  • cost/time to achieve the required qualification
  • competition from other organisations.

The Aviation Workforce Skills Study (2016) by Australian Industry Standards highlights the impact of technology change on the aviation workforce, with employers reporting skill areas related to digital technologies needing to be further developed to some extent.  These include analytical skills which have grown in importance and prevalence along with the recent growth in the use of real-time data analytics and ‘Big Data’ analytics.  Closely related to this are problem solving skills, or the ability to interpret the available information and react adequately.  Additionally risk and safety management; and digital literacy were reported as further areas for skill development.

In summary, industry reports and the Aviation IRC Skills Forecast have identified an ageing workforce; reduced apprentices; and new technologies as the main skilling challenges for the future Aviation workforce.  The capacity to successfully attract, train and retain younger workers will be critical in meeting the future skills needs of the sector.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit (49) Air and Space Transport and ANZSIC 3 digit (522) Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • 2311 Air Transport Professionals
    • 4517 Travel Attendants
    • 6394 Ticket Salespersons
    • 7219 Other Mobile Plant Operators
    • 3231 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit (49) Air and Space Transport and ANZSIC 3 digit (522) Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by ANZSIC 2 digit (49) Air and Space Transport and ANZSIC 3 digit (522) Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industries as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • AVI Aviation Training Package
    • Certificate I in Aviation (Foundation Skills)
    • Certificate II in Aviation (Flight Operations)
    • Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Passenger and Non-Passenger Screener)
    • Certificate II in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Passenger/Non-Passenger Screener)
    • Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Checked Baggage Screener)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Cabin Crew)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Flight Operations)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crewman)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crewman)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Aerodrome Operations)
    • Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight)
    • Certificate IV in Aviation (Commercial Pilot Aeroplane Licence)
    • Certificate IV in Aviation (Commercial Pilot Helicopter Licence)
    • Certificate IV in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Air Traffic Control)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Air Traffic Control)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Flight Operations)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
    • Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
    • Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instruction).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

AVI Aviation Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Aviation IRC Skills Forecast 2017.

Updated: 05 Oct 2018
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