On the occasion of the second DREAAM[1] project meeting (31st January – 1st February), the project partners worked together to develop solutions for airport employers and jobseekers in the airport areas. This meeting was hosted by Aviato, the employment agency of Brussels Airport, whose main mission is to offer quality and sustainable employment at the airport for both jobseekers and employers. During this meeting, workshops were organised on two main topics:

  • How can we detect the needs of employers?
  • Which solutions can we provide for employers and jobseekers?

Shared challenges

First of all, it appears that there is a shared belief in the poor attractiveness of airport areas jobs. Furthermore, the multitude and diversity of jobs offered are unknown to nearby residents. In addition, airport jobs tend to be less popular with women.

Secondly, employment dedicated structures encounter difficulties in identifying the needs of airport companies. It seems that it is particularly challenging to understand the gap between the existing skills and the skills expected by the employers, as there is sometimes an overstatement of needs. Also, the technological evolution of jobs over the coming years demands more and more attention.

Another challenge is related to the governance and coordination of companies and employment agencies. In this sense, it is important to have access to the recruitment needs of companies, to communicate these needs to the employment agencies and to co-build appropriate training with the help of companies.

 

Finally, the biggest obstacle standing between airport employers and the ideal candidate is the skill mismatch challenge. The main expected skill is the linguistic one. It turns out that knowledge of English and of the local language is of utmost necessity. Attention is also given to the handling of customer relations in a multicultural environment. Despite the growing number of jobseekers, the aviation sector still reports shortages of specialised labour.

 

Common solutions

For the European economy to remain competitive, it is highly important to be able to prevent skill gaps and shortages, especially in fast-changing environments, such as aviation. In this sense, the Erasmus+ project, DREAAM, worked on detecting the needs of airport employers. By doing so, the project partners are hoping to anticipate the skill needs at European level and to build the profile of the “dream” airport employee.

Based on Aviato’s experience, project partners are planning to create a questionnaire for the employers. This questionnaire will focus on the skills rather than the tasks in order to give an objective view of the job. This exercise will help write a business plan closer to the reality of the job. This business plan will facilitate the understanding of the impact of new technologies and changes. This plan will also give a better understanding of the recruitment strategy and it will support companies in having a clear vision of their future needs.

This information could help develop a strategic partnership between job agencies and companies with the purpose of building a training program. The DREAAM project partners believe that tailored training, based on the needs of the employers, is the answer to avoiding skills mismatch. This solution should allow candidates and job agencies to grasp a clear understanding of the long-term strategy of the employer and the actual tasks to be performed.

For instance, airport jobs are often not visible enough, so the job posting might not reach the candidates. As a follow-up of the DREAAM project, partners envisage the development of a visual, attractive and integrated platform that communicates at a higher level with the wider public and that could effectively reach jobseekers (e.g. via public events, specific vocational training councils, specialised job platforms). Part of this tool would be dedicated to the job offers of European airport areas to facilitate mobility.  Additionally, a trivia quiz (“did you know?”) will be included, so that airport jobs are better perceived. Massive open online courses (MOOC) will also be available. Most importantly, via this platform, the job seekers will be able to have a glimpse of the job itself and how a usual day at work would look like.

The DREAAM project partners also brainstormed on a virtual reality tool that would allow potential employees to experience the airport jobs in real time. This tool would encompass testimonials from the current employees themselves, thus avoiding the misperception of the job.  The jobseekers could have access to the business plan derived from the questionnaire, taking into account the physical constraints and specificities of each country in terms of legislation.

 

[1] Development of Regional Employment and Airport Areas Manpower – Erasmus + funded project