We asked Ian MacLaren, a Senior Technical Advisor who specialises in Airworthiness to tell us about his work.
Ian works for CAA International (CAAi), a wholly owned subsidiary of the CAA, that delivers tailored best practice advice and training across the entire spectrum of aviation regulation.
CAAi works throughout the world to help States meet the regulatory requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
What does a Senior Technical Advisor job involve?
Since joining CAAi in 2013, I have been involved in a number of advisory projects that have taken me across the globe including Botswana, Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand to name just a few.
Most of my projects involve working with other National Aviation Authorities (NAAs).
Through tailored UK CAA advice and training, we work with NAAs to build capacity, and ensure that Regulators and Inspectorate staff are competent carrying out their oversight duties to international standards.
I provide advice to help fellow regulators prepare for ICAO safety audits or to rectify any safety concerns. Our aim is to help other NAAs achieve compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
A typical project will begin with reviewing:
- anything that ICAO has asked the NAAs to look at or address
- the organisation structure and regulation system that is in place to identify any gaps with ICAO requirements.
The next step may be to prepare a new set of regulations and guidance that suit the client's needs and providing training on those.
We may produce a set of working procedures, forms and checklists to support the implementation of the regulations and guidance.
We may also provide “on the job training” to support the use of the new procedures , forms and checklists.
What experience did you have before joining the CAA?
Before joining the CAA I had 10 years of experience working in industry with an aircraft manufacturer.
Following that, before joining CAA International as a Senior Technical Advisor I had gained 17 years experience as an Airworthiness surveyor in Aircraft Certification, Continuing airworthiness (Part M and Part 145) and auditing.
What skills do you need?
A relevant degree or licence in the domain you are working in, good communication skills, presentation skills, IT skills (Excel, Word) and being able to work as part of a team or on your own.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The variety of the job. I can be providing inputs to a technical tender one minute, then preparing technical training material the next, and the next day travelling to an interesting location to support a project.
What advice would you give to aspiring Senior Technical Advisors?
Be able to diversify your skills and dont be afraid of learning or the unknown.
If you have a question for Ian or one of the team, please send it into this blog.
You can find information on how to apply for a Senior Technical Advisor role on our careers website.