Clear focal points have been set for the implementation of the vision. “Our emphasis over the next five years will be on five things: cooperation, which is to say proactive communication; flexibility, which is to say diverse learning opportunities; innovation, which is to say new technology; internationalisation, which is to say English-language studies and academic mobility; and exports,” Kaskel explained. The rector says that the plan is to focus on new forms of technology linked to smart specialisation, especially in the fields of unmanned flight and integrated air traffic control, which in and of themselves involve much greater knowledge and are closely linked to digitalisation. As a result, the academy should become the leading centre of excellence in the local region.
Cluster’s manager Kristo Reinsalu emphasised that the support and cooperation of everyone in the cluster are of critical importance in implementing the vision. “The only way we’ll become an aviation nation that other countries take seriously is by working together,” he said. Kaskel added that the academy must be the first place companies turn to if they need new services to be developed or require training.
The Estonian Aviation Academy’s strategy also outlines the introduction of lifelong learning in aviation. This is important to both students and companies and means creating opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge in standard-determining, in-service and retraining studies one module at a time, with each module being limited in size but logically linked to all other modules. Kaskel added that in order not only to maintain but to boost the quality of the education offered by the academy, studies need to be significantly diversified. “Alongside the lecture-based and predominantly Estonian-language higher education it currently provides, there are plans to institute a range of alternatives,” he explained.
Reinsalu said that Estonian aviation training services are very competitive and drew a parallel. “In September, Patria Flight School announced that it will be training 250 pilots for Qatar Airways over the next five years,” he admitted (see news HERE). “Why couldn’t our academy do the same in future?” He added, if the academy is to become the region’s leading exporter of aviation education services, its focus must be on new technology. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Unmanned air Traffic Management (UTM) and the digitalisation of air traffic organisation are the areas in which the academy, in cooperation with members of the cluster, could well transform Estonia into World’s most innovative airspace.