By Kayode Oyero
As a way of showing its support for increased women’s participation in aviation, Overland Airways, one of Nigeria’s leading scheduled and charter airlines, is hosting the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Women In Aviation Leadership Diploma (WALD) Programme. The programme, the first in West Africa, is designed and organised by IATA Training in partnership with IATA member airlines to deliver targeted training for women in African aviation.
The programme, which is ongoing at Overland Airways’ headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, and expected to last till September 2019, has about 30 participants from across Africa. The programme offers different courses including Aviation Law & Regulations; Executive Aviation Policies; Influencing Skills; Leadership Development & Succession Planning; and Airline Business Models & Competitive Strategies. The courses are handled by seasoned facilitators.
Mrs. Aduke Atiba, Overland Airways’ Executive Director, says: “Overland Airways is delighted to host this important programme. Incidentally, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Balance for Better’. Overland Airways is an equal opportunity company; we recognise people as important assets of our organisation and we are committed to promoting excellence in all we do. Overland Airways provides regular capacity development training for all its personnel without bias for any gender. The airline also gives a level playing ground for staff to move up to mid- and senior management positions.”
Furthermore, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi, IATA Regional Director for Advocacy and Strategic Relations in Africa, believes women are a vital part of Africa’s human resources. She explains that WALD is important to improve women’s involvement in aviation through empowerment with the right knowledge, skill sets and confidence to succeed in the industry.
She says: “WALD equips women aviation professionals with the rudimentary and intermediate knowledge to cover every aspect of the industry – from airlines, to airports, air navigation service, policy and regulations, etc. WALD is meant to upscale more women in middle management level in aviation to aspire to senior management positions. The maiden edition of the programme started in October 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the impact is so huge.”
“The second of this programme worldwide and the first ever in West Africa is being hosted by Overland Airways in Lagos, Nigeria. By hosting this programme, Overland Airways further reinforces its commitment to building the capacity of women in African aviation.”
Ms. Adeyemi says WALD brings new value to the industry. According to her: “The bigger picture is to ensure more women are involved in aviation; choose aviation-related careers and are furnished with the wherewithal to reach the highest heights in the industry. Already, IATA has a capacity development institute where we train over six hundred thousand professionals every year, all over the world. But WALD is the first programme dedicated exclusively to women and it is expected to change the ratio of gender balance in the industry so that more women can move up to senior management positions.”
She expresses appreciation to Overland Airways for keying into the vision, and notes that IATA is committed to supporting the development of women in aviation as well as the growth and sustainability of African aviation, adding that IATA will continue to come up with initiatives to foster industry growth.