Build a skilled workforce with a registered apprenticeship program ... more
Drones, sometimes called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been used in some form since the 19th century. Today’s drones are much more sophisticated, with a growing number of military and industrial applications, such as delivering commercial goods or even organs for transplant. As the field grows, so will the opportunities for licensed drone pilots and artificial intelligence (AI) experts.
We recently spoke with Paul Rossi, operations manager for Causey Aviation Unmanned, to learn more about their drone pilot apprenticeship program.
“Our program started at the end of 2021,” Rossi said. “We enrolled two current employees who had both earned their remote pilot’s certification in high school. They will now complete a 4,000-hour apprenticeship through a combination of on-the-job training and tuition-free classes at Sandhills Community College.”
Rossi adds that these students will not only learn about drone operations, but also learn about AI and understand how software is critical in automating smart processes.
“Now is an exciting time to be in this field,” says Rossi. “Our drone pilots today will play a role in developing the ‘highway of the sky.’ This is a startup industry with immediate opportunities now to help create and define the processes that will shape the field for years to come. In 20 years, those in the field today will be called on to speak at the highest levels. As new rules and regulations are defined, the industry will only become more difficult to enter. The time is now.”
Causey Aviation Services has provided manned aircraft and jet charter services at RDU since 1974. Causey Aviation Unmanned was founded in 2018 to provide UAV services. Causey expects Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 135 approval in early 2022; this certification will make them one of a handful of operators licensed to conduct package delivery by drone in the US (Amazon and UPS being two of the others).
While we often hear people talk about job loss due to automation, Rossi is looking for individuals who refuse to let automation push them out and instead want to learn how they can become more valuable and productive. Those with the ability to see the future, have spatial awareness, and can live in the metaverse will do well.
“I knew it would take some effort to set up the registered apprenticeship,” Rossi said. “But the timing was right. I knew if we could get the program established, we would see quick results. I would tell anyone else considering setting up an apprenticeship, don’t be afraid. There is some effort and commitment involved, but you’ll have the support of the apprenticeship consultant. What are you waiting for?”