Training for the Andalusian Aeronautical Sector: Towards a New Academic Scenario

1 Abril 2010

Next year, the Higher School of Engineering in Seville will be offering the new Aerospace Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Course, which will include the specialist areas of Airports and Aerial Transport, Aerial Navigation and Aerospace vehicles

The implementation of the Bologna Process and the definitive adaptation of the Spanish and Andalusian education system to the European Higher Education Area will entail important changes in the academic world, with an expansion of the range of university and academic qualifications linked to the aeronautical industry in Andalusia, in particular the Aeronautical Engineering degree.

The new regulations provide for the disappearance of the former diploma and degree courses in favour of three new levels which will be progressively implemented in Spanish and European universities, the Bachelor, Master and Doctorate levels.

This provides a more open system in which the universities themselves can propose and create the courses they want to offer and above all, according to academic experts, it will favour the interchange of qualifications and the mobility of graduates throughout Europe, thereby increasing their options in the job market. In terms of aeronautical training in Andalusia, these changes will enable the introduction of new courses and specialities at the Universities of Seville and Cadiz. In Seville, the Higher School of Engineeringup until now the only Andalusian university centre offering a Degree in Aeronautical Engineeringwill as from 2010-2011 be offering the new Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, which will include various specialist areas aimed at obtaining subsequent access to the job market. These specialist areas will be Airports and Aerial Transport, Aerial navigation and Aerospace Vehicles, thereby providing specialised training for Aeronautical Technical Engineers in each of these areas, as well as professional skills related with each of the same.

The Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering will be a four-year course which will involve execution of an end-of-course project. Following its completion, graduates will be offered the possibility of continuing with a Masters Degree, whereby the student will undergo specialised training to complement their aeronautical engineering degree. Finally, the Doctorate level which is already available at the School will be maintained for those who wish to carry out work in the research groups in the different departments of the centre, which will be presented in a doctoral thesis. As at the last academic year, more than 3,300 students have enrolled for the former Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Seville, with an increase of nearly 590% since its introduction in the 2002-2003 academic year. Meanwhile, the University of Cádiz will shortly be offering an Aeronautical Engineering course as well, which will also be at the new Bachelor’s Degree level. The UCA has been working on the introduction of this course for some time now to complement the significant presence of the aeronautical sector in the Bay of Cádiz.

It is expected to start in 2011, although this will depend upon the date of completion of the new Higher School of Engineering on the UCA campus at Puerto Real, also the site of one of the Airbus Military plants. This new course was approved last April by the Andalusian University Council as part of the new tertiary qualifications plan for the coming years in the region, which mainly comprises an adaptation of already existing university courses to the European Higher Education Area. In so doing, the UCA has achieved its historic objective of offering a specific qualification for the aeronautical sector in Cádiz, which will enable a new generation of professionals to work in the Andalusian aeronautical industry with all the guarantees of accredited academic training.

Complementary training

However, the range of training options for professionals in the Andalusian aeronautical sector goes beyond university qualifications to include other initiatives such as masters and specialisation courses, which are gaining in importance among graduates and engineers and managers of companies in the sector.

The efforts of the Andalusian authorities to expand and consolidate vocational training of a technical nature in the Andalusian aeronautical industry have also given rise to a greater range of postgraduate courses and training programmes through institutions, which together with the collaboration of the leading companies in the Andalusian sector is enabling young professionals in the aeronautical industry to obtain quality, specialised qualifications.

Good examples of this are the Masters and other courses offered each year by the EOI-Business School in Seville, such as the “AERO Business Management” programme, aimed at managers of SMCs in the aeronautical and aerospace sector interested in consolidating the viability of their firms and entrepreneurs who wish to create their own initiatives in the aeronautical industry; and the Part Time Aerospace MBA, which provides training for engineers in different fields from all over Spain through practical training at the EADS facilities in Seville.

In June, the EOIBusiness School started up a new Executive Project Management Programme aimed at professionals who wish to acquire methodologies and familiarise themselves with the series of processes and practices in the field of project management, an area which is of increasing relevance to aeronautical companies due to the complexity of the jobs carried out for major manufacturers in the sector.

These courses have an extensive programme which considers specific areas in the sector such as management of aeronautical operations, aeronautical transport, aeronautical marketing and the aeronautical industry, etc. The teachers tend to be executives with extensive national and international experience in the aeronautical industry.