At GOOSE Recruitment, we love to talk to aviation professionals to gain real insight into what it is like to work in the industry.
Having spent an impressive 44 years in the industry, we caught up with Roger Hobson, an experienced CAMO Manager to uncover what it takes to have a career in aviation.
What inspired you to pursue a career in aviation?
My passion for all things that fly is definitely what inspired me to pursue a career in aviation. Ever since I was a child, I would spend hours with my parents watching aircraft come in and out of Manchester airport. This was back when you could pay five pence to go onto the terraces and on top of the terminals. I would have my binoculars at the ready, I was a real “Reggie spotter”.
Did you always know that you wanted to become a CAMO Manager?
No. I started my aviation career in production planning. I later moved into fleet planning and then other airworthiness functions before becoming a CAMO Manager. I have also been a post holder in various positions before ending up where I am in my career today.
What career path did you take to get to where you are?
Honestly, I had no set plan and that’s what is so great. You could say that I followed my intuition and pursued opportunities that interested me. Especially when working on a contract basis, as one role came to an end, I was always proactive and looked for the next role that would broaden my horizons into new areas of my field or new countries to explore.
What do you enjoy most about your role? What do you find the most challenging?
The enjoyment part is different with each job, the place, the people you are working with and the operational situation all bring joy at different times and places. In my latest roles, I have gained more joy from having the rewarding opportunity to mentor and train the next generation of the aviation industry.
What I find most challenging is the increasing commercial pressure to do things cheaper, faster, and more cost-effectively. It is a very difficult balancing act to do this when also needing to prioritise the safety of the aircraft and people.
Where in the world has your career taken you and where has been your favourite place to live/work?
Aviation has offered my wife and I some amazing adventures. We have lived and worked in 11 countries across the world, predominantly in Asia and the Middle East. Some of these places I have worked in three times for different companies. Everyone always asks, which place did you love the most? Well, how can I pick? I love all of them for different reasons and each company and country has offered different qualities. The last country where I was located for work was Vanuatu in the Pacific, and wow, what an amazing place and such wonderful humbling people.
What skills do you think are required to be a successful CAMO manager?
There are no courses that can teach you how to be a good manager. There are plenty of courses that can give you a structure on how to achieve certain things, but naturally, there are good managers and team leaders and there are those who find it difficult. I believe that a real weakness within the aviation industry is that we do not develop leaders well or at the right stages of their careers.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the responsibilities of your role?
The airworthiness functions are more critical now than they were before. With more aircraft in long-term storage and parking routines, managing those tasks is crucial before aircraft can return to service. A good CAMO team will save time and effort to ensure that the aircraft is ready to fly again.
Even tougher for myself and many individuals right now is being unemployed during such a difficult time for the industry.
What advice would you give to aspiring aviation professionals who want to pursue a career in aviation maintenance?
Aviation is a very difficult industry to start in right now and there does not seem to be enough opportunities for apprenticeships and trainee graduate programs as there should be. My advice would be don’t be afraid to step into the unknown and take a risk or change the direction of your career path. At the end of the day, you must enjoy your work and going to work each day.