Focus Sessions

In the Focus Sessions, we'll inform, inspire and entertain for African aviation safety. In each session, we’ll receive guests in the studio to we provide you an insight in the exciting world of safety and its professionals. Your host, Foundation Director Tom Kok, will ensure a healthy and interesting debate.

The Focus Sessions provide differing perspectives in respect to important issues in the safety domain of the aviation industry in Africa.

Wanna learn more about the the topics of our Focus Sessions? You'll find more info about the sessions below. We want to include you among our loyal audience and have you tune in for each new episode.

Focus Sessions logo with slogan large font

Why Focus Sessions?

Our industry is undergoing 'belt tightening'. That is unavoidable during any recession, and this pandemic-induced one is no exception. Training is often one of the first things to go in times when resources are limited. Travel budgets are being cut because of COVID-19, and time out of the office is at a premium when team headcounts are reduced to skeletal levels. The massive reduction in traffic means that many aviation professionals are not performing their normal tasks. Sometimes, they are doing a substantially different job, and other times they not working at all or at a substantially reduced frequency. Simulator and classroom-based training is also not taking place. Together, this creates a reduction in the skills and knowledge of aviation professionals, and with it associated safety risks.

The problem is that skills erosion in aviation negatively affects safety– so when the economy does finally turn around, we don’t have reliability in safety & quality on tap to take full advantage of the resurging economy.

AviAssist helps aviation organisations and companies create the right conditions for their staff so they can give their best each day. We are keen to help employers strengthen to commitment to their employer’s goals and values and be motivated to contribute to organisational success. Ideally, we can realize that with an enhanced sense of their own well-being. It is about helping create conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential. Having employees who are fully engaged with their organisation will increase productivity and helps realize higher customer satisfaction, crucial for increased revenue.

Here's the program for our first 5 Focus Sessions:

7 January - Crisis management with Kenyon Chairman Emeritus Robert A. Jensen - Kenyon is one of the biggest disaster management company in the world with lots of aviation clients and extensive experience with aviation disasters. In this episode, we spoke to Robert about his new book 'Personal Effects' and lessons that can be drawn from it when it comes to airline crashes. Click here to watch the episode on our Youtube channel.

28 January - Work Related Stress & Peer Assistance Networks We were joined by Dr. Lucas van Gerwen, Dr. Joan Cahill, Dr. Tina Harris and Felicien Izaturwanaho and spoke about work related stress and the start of Peer Assistance Networks in African aviation can help address mental health in our industry. Click here to watch the episode on our Youtube channel.

25 February - Flight operations into Africa –KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM is one of the main operators into Africa already for many decades. We looked at their flight operations into Africa and safely optimizing routes while ensuring compliance. What has improved over the last 10-15 years? What opportunities are there for further improvements? How can you safely optimize routes while ensuring compliance? Our guests will be Ben Uffen – KLM flight dispatch instructor, Capt. Menno Kroon (Chief Pilot of KLM's  Airbus 330 & Boeing 747 fleet) and Capt. Auke Dros (KLM Vice President of Crew Training). Click here to watch this episode on our YouTube channel.

25 March - Working as an ATO across cultures - Marvin Rangarira Marvin started his career as an air traffic controller in Zimbabwe. From there, he joined one of the leading Air Navigation Service Providers in Africa, ATNS. He now works as an ATC Training Specialist at Dutch Air Traffic Control (LVNL). What lessons are there to be learned from his journey? How can you deal with change in your career, especially if you cross cultural borders too? What has he learned about training and selection of ATCOs in his colourful career? Click here to watch this episode on our Youtube channel.

29 April - E-learning for safety – what works and what doesn’t We have all had to make a sudden switch to loads more e-learning since the onset of the Corona Pandemic. What lessons have we learned about what good e-learning looks like? What new skills do online trainers & regulators need? What is the impact of e-learning on students and teachers? Join Jules Kneepkens (Tata Online academy) KLM's Crew Safety & Security Trainer and Course developer Wesley Koot and ATRs Géraud Rivals de Mazères for a frank discussion on what works and what not. Click here to watch this episode on our Youtube channel

Thursday 19 May, 13:30 Central African Time (t.b.c.) Runway Safety Webinar with the Aviation Safety Alliance for Africa (ASAA) This event was held to celebrate Africa Aviation Week that took place this week in Abuja, Nigeria. This webinar was the second in a series dedicated to supporting more and stronger runway safety teams around Africa. Your hosts for this edition will be Chamsou Andjorin and Tom Kok. The webinar shared best practices, lessons learned and practical tips from and for runway safety teams around Africa. Click here to watch a replay of this webinar on the AviAssist Youtube channel.  

Wednesday 15 June, 12:30 Central African Time - Organizational culture A safety culture does not operate in isolation but is part of the wider organisational culture. Join our leadership & teamwork instructor Gwen Dudok van Heel, Jonathan Lewis managing director of NAC2000 in Zambia and Chamsou Andjorin for great tips on maturing your organisational culture, ready for safety improvements:
How to improve our understanding of organisational culture ?
How to improve feedback towards supportive suggestions
Tips on how to improve your organisational culture to a learning culture and positive safety culture?
And much more
This episode of the Focus Sessions is made possible through the support of Corporate Friend GHS Aviation. Want to give your brand global exposure? Become a corporate friend too! Click here to register for free

Wednesday 20 July, 12:30 Central African Time - Just culture & aviation safety A maturing safety culture is crucial to continuously improve safety in our industry and your organisation. What is just culture and what role does it play in safety promotion? How can we work with our employees & colleagues to learn from mistakes and near misses and move away from a 'blame culture'? How can we guide the behaviour in our organisation to protect the companies values that are often displayed on big posters throughout the office?

Wednesday 24 August, 12:30 Central African Time (t.b.c) - Insurance and Safety This episode will look at the link between aviation insurance and safety. Safety performance is a key factor to mitigate increasing insurance costs. Without evidence that documents elite safety practices, underwriters are only human - if they do not have facts, they make fundamental assumptions based on intuition or common market perceptions. These assumptions can be misinformed and do not benefit operators that invest in advanced quality and safety practices. How can you work with your insurance broker to work on safety excellence? Does your insurance broker provide tools to help with your safety excellence? How can you maximize the benefit from your safety performance in terms of insurance renewal?

Wednesday 21 September, 12:30 Central African Time (t.b.c) - Incident investigation Effective safety management systems largely depend on the quality of the investigation of reported incidents and safety issues. Identifying the lessons to be learned from a safety occurrence requires an understanding of not just what happened, but why it happened. We'll be looking at ICAO Annex 13 which deals with investigation, interview techniques, report writing and investigation management.

Wednesday 19 October , 12:30 Central African Time (t.b.c) - Safety of Ground handling Damage from ground-related occurrences implies increased safety risks and economic consequences for all organizations involved. What best practices are out there to reduce the risks? On time performance, service improvement, reduced cost margins, safety and compliance are all 'must haves' but it makes for a complex environment. Service provider threats include high turnover of personnel, lack of positive safety culture implementation & lack of SMS implementation, or no interface with the airlines.

Wednesday 23 November, 12:30 Central African Time - One on one interview with Mashadi Ntenge Another African aviation professional with a remarkable career. Join us for an interview with South African Air Traffic Controller Mashadi Ntenge. What shaped her career? How does she deal with changes and uncertainty in her career?

Wednesday 7 December, 12:30 Central African Time - Safety Performance Indicators This episode will look at how Africa can improve its use of safety performance indicators. Safety performance indicators (SPIs) are essential to evaluating the success of an aviation organization’s safety management efforts. What role do they play in safety management? What types of indicators are there? How do we get from SPIs to Safety Performance Targets? Is setting targets of zero for each risk area is sustainable?