Addressing many gaps in the ecosystem for faujis to smoothly transit to corporate life where they can benefit the company through their expertise, BridgeNow Academy (BNA) started a Veteran Training Program. Ten ex-servicemen of the Indian Air Force were trained on various engineering software tools through a curriculum designed in alignment with NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework) to position them as Aerospace Technical Publication Engineers. Now, these ex-servicemen are ready for the role of technical authors and illustrators in creating the aerospace technical publications for leading aircraft manufacturers.
Ex-servicemen join Skill India bandwagon
BridgeNow Academy (BNA) has been working with IAF for quite some time to offer job-linked skill development programs for the air warriors who retire at young age. The primary objective was to ensure that their aerospace and aviation skills, acquired during their tenure in armed forces are gainfully used in relevant areas. IAF provided data of more than 80 technicians who had retired recently. After a rigorous selection process, ten veterans were shortlisted to undergo the training program.
The program implementation partners for this initiative are the Learning Links Foundation supported by The Boeing Company. The training partners are BridgeNow Academy and the Industry Partner is P3 India. National Skills Network – NSN was privileged to have a conversation with these veterans and the excerpts are given below:
Rajashekharaiah, a retired Sergeant from IAF expressed that, there is a need for more ex-servicemen from armed forces to join the skilling and training ecosystem. Because many ex-servicemen, after retiring from the services, work in industries like banking which are completely unrelated to their experience. He said, it is a disrespect for the experience they have. So, to make good use of this, there should many more veteran training programs like this to bridge the gap between academy and industries and to also address the issue of dearth of qualified trainers.
Transition from armed forces to corporate
“We have transitioned from zameen (land) to military and now to corporate”, said Soumitra Jana, who served for more than 25 years in IAF and retired as Sergeant. He also said, “we are happy to be making this transition and learning from very well qualified trainers in the programme”.
The transition that veterans are making straight from armed forces to corporates is not an easy one. But the energy and enthusiasm with which they would want to contribute to skilling of the youth in aerospace and aviation sector is much appreciated.
“I have 20 years of overall experience – 10 years of experience as a technician in MIG-23 aircraft and 4 years of experience as a technical supervisor. And another 5 years of experience in Su-30MKI aircraft. I always worked in technical field with the manuals. I wanted to continue to contribute to the aviation sector, so I am thankful for this opportunity”, said Kunal Palit, a retired Sergeant from IAF.
Veteran Training Programme, indeed has veterans like Umesh Singh who worked on the oldest aircraft MIG-21 to the latest one Tejas, of the IAF. “This course gave me the opportunity to come under the corporate sector. The atmosphere here is really nice as the people here are more experienced and talented. We all are having the live experience and on-the-job experience”, said Umesh Singh, who retired from IAF as a Sergeant.
From end-users to creators
Pradeep Jose, a veteran retired as a Junior Warrant Officer, is excited to be creating a technical training manual now, of which he was an end-user earlier. He is happy that his experience in the maintenance of an aircraft can now be put to a good use. The veterans are very enthusiastic about being able to use their experience in Air Force in creating the manuals. They are being trained both theoretically and practically.
“We’ll be performing the roles of author or illustrator and create manuals”, shared Ravindra Sharma, who has 20 years of experience in IAF and retired as Sergeant. “From 20 years we have been using the same documents and manuals and now we are creating them. Aeronautical engineering students trained will find better opportunities in future by taking up this training” opined Ambuj Anand, who retired as a Sergeant from IAF.
The driving forces
“Whoever is coming to join this sector as a technical author or drawing illustrator, do not have any practical experience that we have. We will be able to clarify all the doubts of young professionals and make them aware about all the aspects of a technical publication which will help them to get acquainted with an aircraft. This motivated me to join the training programme”, said Ajeet Kumar, an ex-serviceman who retired as Junior Warrant Officer from IAF.
Why is skilling important
“One might know many things in aviation and maintenance of aircrafts, but if hands are not skilled in performing on-site or use the knowledge, then all that is a waste”, said Ajay Kumar Singh, a Sergeant from IAF. V Ramesh, a retired Junior Warrant Officer, believes that youth are efficient but must take the experiential learning which a veteran can impart to be able to apply their knowledge practically.
Almost all the veterans getting trained in the BridgeNow academy not only have experience in aircraft maintenance but also in the Logistics Management and Office Administration. Their experience of working on-site for about two decades will help the young professionals with wider knowledge and deeper understanding in the aerospace and aviation sector.
The smooth transition to the corporate can be achieved by imparting the right skills and training to the veterans of our country. Therefore, programs like these will help them in getting more employable and achieve their aspirations in life.