Ex-shipyards personnel excel at SR Technics
SR Technics, the aviation maintenance company, has just promoted 12 of 18 assistant technicians recruited two years ago to technicians.
The assistant technicians, some in their 50s, included men previously employed with Malta Shipyards.
SR Technics’ facility, which was established in 2010, sits within the €17 million Safi aviation park inaugurated last week, and services narrow body aircraft.
Newly promoted team members reached the required academic and practical experience targets earlier this year. As technicians, they now bear full accountability for processes they oversee.
“Technicians sign off their own work procedures depending on their authorisation and in accordance with predetermined risk assessments,” general manager Jutta Trimmel told The Times Business. “All the new technicians reached the high grades required to complete their training. Six are currently working in Zurich on short secondment periods.”
Ms Trimmel explained SR Technics had no qualms about recruiting candidates aged 55-plus as they still brought a minimum five years’ service to the company.
As a start-up, SR Technics was keen to bring immediate experience to its Malta team to strike a maturity balance with the greenness of the younger members.
“The experience they bring while they are part of SR Technics’ team will give us time to plan succession for when they reach retirement,” Ms Trimmel added. “If all the team were young, there would be fewer opportunities for other young people to enter our workforce.”
Ivan Sammut, 41, is one of the newly promoted technicians. Previously employed with Enemalta Corporation for 12 years as a mechanical fitter and technician after three years’ apprenticeship, he resigned to pursue an ambition to start a catering business. He explained the business, however, made enormous demands on his time and a work-dominated lifestyle became unsustainable.
The opportunity to work at SR Technics enabled him to return to his mechanical and electrical background and gave him a chance to join a learning environment.
He is now relishing the added responsibility and challenges of his new role. In the longer term, he said, he hoped to be given further promotion opportunities.
SR Technics’ initial recruitment drive in 2010 was held in collaboration with the Employment and Training Corporation.
“We were lucky, in a way, that Malta Shipyards was laying people off , making technical expertise available,” human resources manager Mario Micallef explained. “Most of the applicants were ex-Malta Shipyards but there were also people who had previously worked at Enemalta and ST Microelectronics among the applicants. All had extensive trade and technical skills. We recruited 30 in various trades in the first intake over six months. The more technical recruits were aged over 40; the oldest was 56.”
The new recruits immediately travelled to Zurich for nine-week programmes at SR Technics’ headquarters which included practical and academic training. On their return, all contributed to the infrastructure set-up of the new Malta facility before the operation kicked off.
Mr Micallef said the teams excelled in training – none had aviation knowledge and many had not sat in a classroom for years. Modules focused on aviation English, electrics and systems, and health and safety procedures.
All passed written exams and reached the required grades to proceed to further training. The intake returned to Malta with an industry-recognised qualification under its belt: SR Technics’ dedicated technical training facility in Zurich is used by other industry players to train aircraft maintenance teams.
In Malta, the team members were later enrolled in programmes designed for Airbus aircraft in which SR Technics invested significantly.
Ms Trimmel said SR Technics has been impressed with the Maltese recruits’ adaptability and by their initiative. Several technicians have enrolled in aviation maintenance evening courses at MCAST to broaden their knowledge and skills. SR Technics has supported them by offering flexible working hours. The added knowledge could improve their prospects whenever new promotion opportunities arise, she said.
SR Technics’ Malta team now numbers 150 people from nine countries, including 135 Maltese.