When Maryan Mohamed Ali enrolled at Mogadishu Aviation College two years ago, she had reservations about securing industrial attachment opportunities due to the limited aviation prospects in Somalia.
Born and raised in Mogadishu, Maryan was fortunate to be selected among the few students for an industrial attachment at the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) aviation department in Mogadishu, following a rigorous vetting process.
“My country faces numerous security and education challenges. I aspire to serve my country and contribute to our prosperity. Succeeding in this training is my top priority, and the opportunity at UNSOS is a dream come true,” says Maryan, driven by the desire to give back to her homeland.
Today, the 19-year-old who volunteers at the UNSOS Airport operations unit, expresses gratitude to the UN Logistics body for honing her dream of becoming a flight operations officer.
“We need more training to attain professional standards, similar to other countries,” says Maryan, who graduated with a Diploma in Airport Operations from Mogadishu Aviation College (MAC) last December.
Alongside hundreds of other students, Maryan is pursuing her dream thanks to UNSOS’ enhanced involvement in capacity building and mentoring the next generation of professionals for Somalia’s aviation industry.
A symbol of growing confidence in Somalia’s aviation industry, MAC, with the support of UNSOS, has introduced young Somalis to diverse career possibilities in the aviation world.
“Today, we enrol up to ten students per session, and the training lasts three months on the job. Since we started, we have trained about sixty to seventy students with the main objective of building capacity for Somalia’s aviation industry,” says Ernest Manzano, UNSOS Chief Aviation Services.
“The goal is to train these personnel in aviation services so that they can be deployed throughout Somalia at the different airports we operate. I believe these women and men graduating from the aviation college will be ready to handle that responsibility,” adds Manzano.
As the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia transitions and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) assumes more responsibilities, UNSOS is keen on avoiding a professional vacuum in Somalia’s aviation industry, hence the need to accelerate and bridge the gap.
“UNSOS has been supportive in granting MAC internships through training, coaching, and mentoring students until they become professionals,” says Engineer Ali Gutale, the Managing Director of Mogadishu Aviation College.
Established in July 2018, Mogadishu Aviation College has produced professional aviators who have been absorbed by local and international airlines and aviation firms, including the Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Favori, and Aden Abdulle International Airport.
Mohamed Abdirahman Ali, another beneficiary of the collaborative partnership, believes that his dream to fly for airlines is not far-fetched, courtesy of the training he received from UNSOS aviation.
“You cannot climb a ladder at once. Now I am starting as a flight dispatcher, and soon, I will advance to pursue other courses and become a pilot,” says Mohamed, currently on industrial attachment at UNSOS aviation department.
Over recent years, the Somalia aviation sector has increasingly attracted major commercial carriers such as Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Uganda Airlines, Fly Dubai, and UN-contracted flights, opening more opportunities for young aviators.
UNSOS is at the forefront of broader efforts to build capacity, providing hope for a brighter future by supporting aviation students to navigate their career pathways through a hands-on learning experience.
“If we can continue with this program for the next three years, I strongly believe that we can turn the tide in Somalia’s aviation positioning,” says Manzano.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).