With over 20 years of experience in the air cargo industry, James Wyatt took to the decision to set up his own consulting company, aeroconcept, in May 2019. Since then, aeroconcept has been providing aviation consulting, operational support and management training for the aviation and air cargo industry.
Wyatt’s wealth of experience, which includes working with Lufthansa Cargo, AeroLogic, Qatar Airways, DHL Express and IATA, is something he draws heavily on. In doing so, aeroconcept is able to provide an extensive range of services, including training, which Wyatt noted, now also includes IATA Training in Cargo & Logistics.
“During 2020 I qualified as an IATA external instructor which now enables me to train IATA training courses in the cargo and logistics sector of our industry. This is a great addition to the aeroconcept portfolio and I am looking forward to providing my first IATA training in April.”
aeroconcept’s first client for training was Lufthansa Cargo, fittingly the carrier Wyatt worked for at the start of his career for seven years, before moving to AeroLogic.
“Lufthansa Cargo invited me to develop a concept for them to train all of their station managers, worldwide. The objective was to give them the required skill set to be ‘responsible’ for their operation in all aspects, from legal to supplier relationship management.
Unfortunately for aeroconcept as a new company, like many others, face-to-face training didn’t last long with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. As global lockdowns hit and life as we knew it changed completely, the ability to adapt became imperative to continue to support the aviation industry. With the majority of client work temporarily paused, Wyatt adapted to the changing circumstances.
“During this time I entered into various strategic partnerships focused on Operational Resource Planning, Sanctions & Trade Compliance, Human Factors, Dangerous Goods and Aircraft Charter Brokerage. I started to work on various new concepts including a concept for universities.
“When you reach a certain point in your in your career and to an extent in your life journey, you realise that you can give something back, and this is a great feeling,” he explained.
“Working together with a university in Germany that specialises in Logistics and Transport Management I realised there was a clear demand for real life expertise rather than just having the ‘standard theory’.
“I therefore based the training concept on real life experience. I created case studies and brought in a few guest speakers from the industry to enhance the real life view from different sectors of the industry including the Express Integrator, Cargo IT, Cargo Airline and Ground Handling Agent.”
Wyatt noted that this has to be done virtually, a shift to Zoom or other means we are all too familiar with now. It does however create a unique set of challenges, in particular engagement. This was another reason to ensure that there were a variety of training methods to keep the students interested.
“I’m delighted that this concept has developed and I am pleased to be able to offer this to worldwide universities in the near future – watch this space!
“I’m very much a traditionalist. Even though I’m very open to change and I love change management, when it comes to training I simply love to stand up in front of people and to train. Virtual training does still deliver but engagement can be hard. You really have to break up the sessions because you can lose people after a short time if you are not careful. Interaction is key.”
With vaccine rollouts starting across the globe, the light is starting to glimmer at the end of the lockdown tunnel and hopefully this will kick start some normality in which face-to-face training can resume in greater depth.
Air cargo is a fast paced industry and over the last year, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for many industry changes.
“You have to be very aware and up-to-date with what is going on in the industry. The pandemic has certainly proved to be an accelerator for digital transformation and this is great to see,” said Wyatt.
“Lecturing at the University, I dedicated a section of the course to the impact of COVID on aviation and what it means for our industry: capacity constraints caused by the severe loss of belly space on passenger aircraft, airline crew handling due to the constantly changing government regulations for entry and exit requirements, the large increase in e-Commerce, due to the B2B towards B2C.”
What makes aeroconcept’s training different? It’s bespoke explained Wyatt. “I think what makes my experience unique is that I’m able to train in a way that reflects the role of the person that I’m training. It’s vital to be able to connect on the level of your audience and adapt the delivery accordingly. This drives engagement and therefore knowledge transfer and retention. I’ve had significant experience on the ground, middle and senior management levels in all of the organisations I have worked for. I believe these are valuable assets.”