The widely accepted notion is that Generation Z are a cohort of tech savvy, phone-obsessed introverts, who require new modern training methods in order to entice them into aviation roles. However, new research by a British pilot argues that putting the phones away, and not focussing solely on technology will get the best results when training these 18-28-year-old flight crew.

The research by Ian Taggart, a First Officer flying the Boeing 787 for TUI Airways, shows that Generation Z are keen to learn surrounded by peers in a facilitated environment, where they can get plenty of feedback, albeit delivered in a different, less confrontational manner than accepted by millennials or Gen X.

"Generation Z want face-to-face communication and you don't get that through all technological means or sources," Taggart told CAT Magazine in an interview.

"They like being around others in the classroom. And even if they don't have the ability to be in a classroom together, we found that Generation Z would often group together in their own social circles and meet face-to-face for lots of reasons, particularly that's around facilitation."

Do Gen Z Really Want Training On Their Phones?

Taggart's thesis is entitled: "Exploring the social skills of Generation Z flight crew".

He said that Generation Z research is sparse, particularly in aviation, which provided him with an exciting and relevant opportunity to discover more about Gen Z flight crew, particularly as Gen Z has ever-increasing representation within our workforces.

The research was a qualitative study with participants from the Generation Z cohort and other generations. It explored social skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork with emergent themes of learning and authority gradient, along with how they interact and are perceived by flight crew from non-Gen Z cohorts.

"I think all generations are unique and we've got to be careful in research like this that not everyone will identify with what's be found in generational research," Taggart said.

"My advice would be, first and foremost, to just have an awareness of some of these differences that might not conform to the mainstream media view of Generation Z. By just having an initial awareness and going on a search for actually what do your people want from training, particularly in this generation Z?"

Gen Z Learning

Taggart hopes the research paves the way for a collaboration between research and subject matter experts within the airline industry. Equally, the opportunity exists to expand our understanding of Gen Z and future generations through research.

We are delighted that Ian will be part of our panel discussion for our March webinar about Generation Z.

The webinar will take place in our Aviation Training Leader Forum, our private online community platform that provides Heads of Training and other aviation leaders with a space to connect, collaborate and solve problems as a community.  Sign up now.

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