Training the next generation of the aviation workforce at Moscow Domodedovo
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is ushering in a new world, in which everything is going to be different, from management and communication to education and hiring. While the changes are becoming more apparent across many industries, aviation has been at the forefront of this development with the transformation of passenger experience.
Credit: Andrey Todykov and Anton Selyanin
Moscow Domodedovo Airport conducts a wide range of operations in different areas, from ground handling to passenger handling, from sales and marketing to transportation security; employing and training over 13,000 people.
The airport strives to leverage game-changing technologies to meet the requirements of the Aviation 4.0. Due to the variety of activities, the particularities of the airport business and ongoing industry changes, Moscow Domodedovo pays special attention to personnel training. We are adapting both teaching and training methods, and tailoring educational programmes to prepare graduates for the new business, as well as the digital environment.
Moreover, considering the unstable situation of the labour market where companies fight for young talent as the number of career opportunities grows, we have put initiatives in place to deal with these challenges.
How to survive in the new world
In recent years, the educational landscape in Russia has significantly changed: The whole world has altered. To address these changes, Moscow Domodedovo Airport applies a strategic approach to managing human resources. We rely on a forecasting model that takes into account our recruitment needs as well as the duration of a candidate’s educational programme. We hire based on knowledge, skills and ability.
We understand that our businesses are quite particular, and even experienced specialists have to adapt to the airport realities. Moreover, due to the drastic changes in both technology and regulations, we are nurturing life-long learning models. In 2011, we revised our human resources policies, creating Domodedovo Training to improve adaptation and training processes. Domodedovo Training is an accredited centre with the right to deliver courses using IATA and ICAO learning materials. Now every employee has a development plan that includes a list of must-attend courses, covering both general and professional topics. This personalised approach allows us to help our employees keep up with the times as well as ensure growth.
We hire from the outside, and understand that the immersion in the airport processes will take time. We seek to help our employees with this adaptation puzzle. Every position in our structure has a list of required disciplines. Domodedovo Training experts rely on this list to create an adaptation and development plan for an employee.
The School of Methodical Management
We have also introduced initiatives to attract top talent in the company. The School of Methodical Management is a training programme to prepare recent graduates and experienced specialists for working at the airport. Thanks to the instructors from Domodedovo Training, the participants have a unique opportunity to learn a new profession as well as get the hang of our corporate rules, our information systems and our business processes. The duration of the programme varies depending on the ultimate position, ranging from two to six months.
The Pritok Educational Programme.
We launched the Pritok programme in 2000 and started searching for talent at universities. Firstly, we offered student internships, providing guidance on their thesis, and then hired the best afterward. Following this, we launched a series of partnerships with leading educational organisations, including Lomonosov Moscow State University and RUDN University, and started offering guaranteed employment after graduation.
Thanks to the cooperation with the educational organisations, we have an opportunity to influence the personal and professional development of future employees through internships in our business units, projects and additional courses at Domodedovo Training. For individuals aged 16 and above, our partner universities and colleges dedicate a day in their schedules for the students to attend courses at Domodedovo Training. The Pritok partakers write their thesis based on real business cases. As of 2019, over 4,000 people have taken part in the programme and the Pritok students receive scholarships depending on their academic progress.
We are collaborating with four colleges to offer new exciting opportunities for young people. However, we have realised that we have to hunt for young talent even earlier. As we see the drastic changes around us, we understand how difficult it is to find a calling. Therefore, we seek to make acquaintance with our future employees at school, inviting them to participate in our simulators (RTS DME). Our educational programmes help pupils and students explore different careers within airports while our simulators provide an opportunity to get the real-life experience.
How does our training system work?
When applying for a job or a programme, our candidates take an interview and complete tasks and tests. Participation in our initiatives – The School of Methodical Management and the Pritok programme – means the individual, thanks to the immersion in the aviation industry, can start right away. Employees from outside attend adaptation courses, where they learn how our processes work as well as how to perform their duties in a new environment. All adaptation courses are mandatory.
However, the current employees can apply for distant learning courses and prepare for the test on their own. We consider all the seminars and workshops as must-attend events. The testing procedures and writing assignments take place under the observation of instructors in dedicated rooms, located on the airport territory. Moreover, we provide every employee with a development plan, taking into account the background and his or her way into the company. The main goal is to ensure the professional growth of our personnel.
We employ a unified educational environment to train our employees. Our corporate information systems create a unified space, enabling both students and instructors to access educational materials from any working station through the personal account. Our intranet AURA plays an important part in creating this unified environment. This service increases engagement rate, providing our team with a powerful set of knowledge management services. For instance, users can read the recent aviation news on the portal, learn about changes in the industrial standards and regulations, as well as find experts on different topics through the search interface. The right balance between intranet and social media provides employees with an opportunity to exchange knowledge, develop strong horizontal linkages and come up with new ideas. AURA serves as a unique platform for sharing opinions and ideas that increases employee engagement: 40 per cent of users visit the intranet daily, while 80 per cent do so monthly. It is now easier to communicate with colleagues, two per cent of AURA users have met new colleagues there, with 43 per cent of visitors finding interesting people on the platform. Overall, 13,000 DME employees use the intranet.
DME real-time simulators and future training plans
RTS DME recreates our business operations and offers a wide variety of physical and digital tools to solve real problems in a safe environment. The ultimate goal of gamification in our personnel training is to develop and evaluate practical skills, tailoring personal development programmes accordingly. Moreover, it is an excellent tool to capture the attention of millennials and Generation Z, as well as to find the best fit for a particular position. These initiatives allow the participants to gain a first-hand experience in various fields; helping them to determine a career path. The more informed decision they make, the better results they demonstrate in the end, as it is more rewarding to succeed in the field that entertains you.
DME LIVE CLASSIC simulator
DME LIVE CLASSIC is a simulator for our interns and employees aimed at realising their full leadership potential. DME LIVE CLASSIC reproduces an aviation business system, including legislation, financial and technological requirements of airport operations. Every team has to launch an issue, holding an IPO. A team can use the revenue from stock trading to buy new aircraft, build new terminals or open new flights. DME LIVE CLASSIC employs virtual reality (VR) to test the response of airport employees in the event of an emergency. VR technologies reconstruct Moscow Domodedovo facilities and feature over 50 different types of emergencies, including an emergency landing.
DME LIVE PRACTICE simulator
DME LIVE PRACTICE recreates real business processes of an airport in both passenger and aircraft handling. We have built three airports with aircraft and vehicles to help students master their skills in real-life situations. The participants can experience over 30 different roles including passenger and ground handling. Domodedovo Airport has won the international InterComm 2019 Awards in the field of internal communications in the category ‘Point of Growth’ for its DME LIVE PRACTICE project.
DME SWAT CHALLENGE
This is a simulation-based competition for our aviation security services, emergency response and rescue teams. Pritok participants majoring in air transport services and emergency response also take part in the challenge. The contest features close combat, disassembly/assembly of weapons, obstacle courses and the evacuation of victims.
Our team at Moscow Domodedovo
In 2018, we recorded 1.5 million person-hours devoted to training and education. As we seek to uphold our professional expertise, both partnerships and educational initiatives help us to build a strong team and grow leaders in our business. Thanks to our Pritok programme, both junior and senior students are working for various units. Our initiatives make adaptation as smooth as possible.
New employees can easily understand the basics of our business processes through our adaptation courses, and the real-life experience makes them a perfect fit for the job. These initiatives have significantly increased opportunities for both vertical and horizontal promotion. In November, Domodedovo Airport took the first place in Forbes inaugural ranking of the best employers in Russia for its corporate training.
We will continue to invest in training and developing new simulators as these initiatives promote professionalism in everyday practice, making our operations more efficient and as a result, improving passenger experience.