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Fly with us! - Workplace learning in focus – Interview series

Part V: – Interview with the employees of Celebi Ground Holding

We all love soaring high in the sky. However, the appropriate level of preparedness of the ground staff is indispensable for this process to be as smooth and pleasant as possible. How many training sessions does it take to prepare a professional airport service staff member for their duties?

EPALE’s Hungarian and German Support Service announced a thematic week focusing on workplace learning. Annamária Kiss, the Ambassador of EPALE Hungary conducted a series of interviews with five organisations investing a great deal of effort in training their employees.

Original language: Hungarian

Reading time approximately eight minutes – read, like, comment!

Workplace learning in the spotlight – Interview with the employees of Celebi Ground Holding

EPALE’s Hungarian and German Support Service announced a thematic week focusing on workplace learning. Annamária Kiss, the Ambassador of EPALE Hungary conducted a series of interviews with five organisations investing a great deal of effort in training their employees.

The Hungarian subsidiary of the Turkish Celebi Aviation Holding, Celebi Ground Handling Hungary Kft. has been operating at Liszt Ferenc Budapest Airport since 2006. As the partner of more than 25 airlines, it provides a full range of ground services. Besides its main profile the company carries out passenger and air cargo transport related duties. The company operates a General Aviation Terminal (GAT[1]) and several lounges within the airport. The interview questions were answered by Anett Mihály, head of Training and Gábor Kovács HR generalist.

How does the concept of learning fit into the company mindset?

Our company puts great emphasis on training and learning since aviation is a sector that develops rapidly by the day, and it would be definitely hard to stay apace if this area was ignored. We would easily fall behind our competitors in less than no time if we did just that. The key to the high quality services we deliver to our partners is to work with employees who have up-to-date expertise and job skills. Obviously, this not only means the completion of mandatory training before taking up the job as specified by the airport, they also need to go over what they have learned every year and continuously meet the latest technological standards set by our partners.

How long have you been providing in-house training and why did you decide to do so?

Our parent company has been offering training sessions ever since its establishment, and we run courses continuously since 2006 in Budapest. The quantity and complexity of these change year by year according to the relevant IATA[2] and ICAO[3] standards that govern our industry, so this activity is necessitated by external factors. In addition, the number of airlines we serve is on the rise so the number of trainings we organise also increased over the years, while the curriculum became broader.

Does the company have any arrangements in place to support learning?

The training sessions and instructions provided by Celebi Aviation Holding are coordinated by the Celebi Academy from our headquarters in Istanbul. Employees can access the training material they need through an e-learning system, the Celebi E-Shool.

Is training given by third parties or do you involve your employees in the process?

Training programmes listed in the occupational register or driver training is provided with the involvement of third parties. In such cases we provide rooms both for the training and the examination so employees are not required to go to another location to receive instruction and take the exam. However, we do not hire instructors to train our employees for the mandatory skills required by the airport and our partners, that is, the airlines, this is performed by our colleagues who volunteer for this task. The person providing the training is selected from among these volunteers. They are practiced instructors and are very well versed in their field of work.

What type of training can employees participate in?

Besides the mandatory training employees have to complete every year, blue collar workers can attend courses that are more closely related to their job. These are courses of different types listed in the occupational register: forklift driver, power hoist operator, earthmover and loader operator, etc. In addition to what is compulsory, our white collar workers, on the other hand, can attend trainings to develop their personal skills, such as training in communication or executive training.

Are the costs of training borne by the employer or by the employee?

The costs of training are at all times borne by the employer, but we always have a bilateral study contract (or trilateral for leased workers) in place which includes all relevant costs. Consequently, employees undergoing trainings can see what obligations – the liability to pay in case their employment is terminated – they assume by signing the contract. We do not expect anyone signing the contract to remain loyal for a certain period of time, but they will have to repay the time-proportional part of the costs if, for instance, they quit within half a year or a year of having completed the training.

Is enrolment preceded by consultation or the drafting of an individual career plan?

Long before applying for a course – during the first round of interviews – candidates are given detailed information about where they can get at the company within months of taking up employment if they are committed and persistent enough. A transparent and predictable career path presented at the outset can make the recruitment process more effective and could inspire our employees, too. This sort of open and honest communication helps us retain our workforce in the long run.

How do candidates apply for training?

Employees can apply at the assistants of their respective unit in person, by phone or in an email who will then review the applications and notify the Training Unit in an email about the participation intent.

Are the trainings held during or outside working hours?

Our company performs a 24/7 service, so our courses always run during working hours. The employees participating in training are entitled to absence payment, i.e. the employer pays them during their training period as well. We may even hire future colleagues on leave before they complete the training necessary to enter employment so they will be eligible for receiving a basic salary during their training.

On average how many courses does an employee take up in a year?

On average an employee takes up about 10 different courses a year but this number largely depends on their job. For a baggage handler the number of courses is less than the average, while ground service officers have to complete way more courses in order to get their licence.

What are the employer benefits of supporting workplace learning?

In this sector time is a significant factor, i.e. certain workflows are to be completed in a team, in a coordinated manner in short turnaround time. Turnaround time itself means various lengths, e.g. for a normal passenger aircraft it is 25 to 45 minutes. This can only be done if all those involved are properly skilled and fully aware of their tasks. With adequately skilled staff we can save a considerable amount of time and labour costs. The more qualifications an employee of ours has, the higher number of various workflows they can participate in. This also means that colleagues with these qualities can enjoy a more flexible work schedule which is a rather critical factor when working for a 24/7 company.

Is there any possibility to gain financial support for individual studies?

We have a separate budget for the training sessions to be delivered in a given year which specifies in detail how much we wish to spend on various themes. If employees want to undertake studies on their own, such requests should be addressed to their direct superior in the first round. Where the work schedule permits the training and the direct superior backs the decision, the Training Unit is notified. In case some appropriation is available to cover such training, a bilateral study contract is signed between the company and the colleague in question. This contract specifies the rate and the conditions of support as well as the various benefits, such as those relating to working hours granted by the employer to facilitate successful completion.

How do you motivate your colleagues to take up learning?

We have a salary scheme which is an incentive for our employees to learn and develop themselves. In practice this means that, for example, the more airline system (qualification) operation a passenger services administrator is familiar with, the higher the basic salary. Similarly, operators who can run or handle a broader range of equipment will get a higher basic salary.

What learning opportunities do you first and foremost intend to provide in the future?

In the future we wish to lay even greater emphasis on e-learning opportunities so that our employees can obtain useful information outside working hours, even from home office, which can make it easier for them to integrate during the onboarding[4] process, for example.


Want to know more?Read more articles from the EPALE Work-based Learning Week.


[1] General Aviation Terminal

[2] International Air Transport Association

[3] International Civil Aviation Organization

[4] The effective integration of newcomers into the organisation.

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