Heathrow airside employee first to achieve National Certificate in Airside Operations (NCAO)

A Heathrow employee has become the first airside operative in the UK to be awarded the nationally recognised Certificate in Airside Operations, which was developed in partnership by People 1st and the Aviation Industry Skills Board, and aviation employers are seeing as an innovative way to demonstrate and achieve regulatory competence for EASA regulations.

With aerodrome operators in the UK required to ensure that all personnel involved in the operation, rescue and firefighting, maintenance and management of the aerodrome are trained and competent, aviation employers had been looking for new ways to demonstrate competence through proficiency checks.

As a result, twelve months ago, the National Certificate in Airside Operations (NCAO), developed in partnership by performance and talent management expert People 1st and the Airside Special Interest Group of the Aviation Industry Skills Board which is co-chaired by Simon Newbold, airside operations training manager, Heathrow and Harry Harrad, aerodrome compliance manager Birmingham Airport Limited, was launched to deliver a recognised, accredited and portable certification for all those working in airside operations throughout the UK aerodromes, which evidences compliance with EU Commission Regulation 139/2014 and the UK CAA.

Tony Heap, aerodrome standardisation lead from the Civil Aviation Authority comments:

“The EU aerodrome regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No.139/2014) requires aerodrome operators to ensure their staff have demonstrated their capabilities following training and that qualification, training and proficiency checks records are maintained to demonstrate compliance with the requirements. The NCAO provides the system that fully supports the training requirements contained in the aerodrome regulation.”

Since its launch, over 160 airside operatives from airports across the UK including Belfast City, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, London Luton Airport, London Stansted Airport, London City Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Hawarden Airport that are working in the role, but without a recognised qualification have registered on the NCAO scheme to get their knowledge, skills and experience recognised.

On 5 January 2018, the first candidate to achieve the certification – Harry Cooper from Heathrow – was awarded the certificate by Trevor Waldock – head of airside operations on behalf the Aviation Industry Skills Board and People 1st.

Simon Newbold, airside operations training manager, Heathrow and co-chair of the Airside Special Interest Group of the Aviation Industry Skills Board comments:

“Over 15 airports across the UK have been involved in the development of the National Certificate in Airside Operations, alongside the CAA, supported by People 1st. It is now the established national standard for all airfield operations staff that recognises competence in the workplace and aligns to all UK airports and the apprenticeship standard for airside operatives. As co-chair of the special interest group, I am delighted to see our first successful candidate achieve the certification. I am also extremely proud that the first candidate to complete the NCAO is an employee of Heathrow.”

Julie Blasbery, client relationship manager (aviation), at People 1st adds:

“Having worked with the Aviation Industry Skills Board over the past nine years on many projects for the industry, we are thrilled to see our partnership on the NCAO result in the first candidate achieving the recognition, and also to see so many airports across the UK seeing the value of the certification as a route to demonstrate EASA competence. We look forward to seeing further airside operatives achieve the certification in 2018 and beyond.”