Unlocking professional potential – Alex Mugabo’s Journey as a Trainee at ASPC-Rwanda

Here is Alex' story of his first six months with us. Want to know more about Alex or invite him for a job interview at your company or organisation? Click here to access his LinkedIn profile and find out how to contact him.

Unveiling My Academic Background: My Journey, My Struggle, & My Triumphs

Since 2010, I have been ambitious about pursuing a career in either piloting or civil engineering. I’m fascinated by seeing airplanes flying and working with hydraulic structures. To achieve my goal, I decided to study natural sciences in A level, which included a combination of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. I worked hard and achieved excellent grades in my high school national examinations, hoping that this would increase my chances of securing a scholarship for a piloting course. Unfortunately, I didn’t secure any scholarship opportunity to pursue piloting among those I applied worldwide. I realized that undertaking piloting might not be possible, and I decided to pursue my second choice, which was a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. I’m extremely happy that this worked for me, and I studied it.

I completed my four-year bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering in the option of Water Resources Engineering from the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology (UR-CST). I pursued this program from 2017 to 2021. And during my time at UR-CST, I engaged in extracurricular activities to enhance my skills and abilities. One activity among others was representing my former students in the School of Engineering from 2019 to 2021. My core mandate was to gather feedback on the teaching and learning model of the university to improve all programs offered by the school. All in all, I’m grateful to the UR community for providing me with learning opportunities and contributing to my personal and academic growth.

Alex at graduation 2

Alex Mugabo posing for a photo at the ASPC-Rwanda offices in UR-CST on his graduation day. Photo credit: Mr. Felicien Izaturwanaho

Stepping into the Professional World: My Journey into Aviation Industry

My dream of launching a career in aviation safety became a reality when I applied for and secured a traineeship position at the AviAssist Safety Promotion Centre (ASPC) - Rwanda in August 2022. Having passed all of AviAssist’s rigorous recruitment steps, I was selected for the role, marking the beginning of what I hope will be a long journey in the aviation industry. I consider myself fortunate to have secured a position at the ASPC-Rwanda, which is Africa’s first aviation safety promotion centre hosted by the University of Rwanda.

Tom welcoming Alex to ASPC-Rwanda

AviAssist Director Tom Kok (right), AviAssist Director welcomed Alex (left) to ASPC-Rwanda on his first day in the office. Photo credit: Felicien Izaturwanaho. 

Student visiting & guest lectures ASPC

The trainee engages increasingly with students at the ASPC-Rwanda and at guest lectures

I enjoy working at the ASPC-Rwanda. The centre operates through learning, researching, and experiencing pillars for aviation safety. I am responsible for handling administrative functions and organizational matters in Africa, which keeps me busy and engaged. Part of my role involves welcoming guests such as university students & staff and aviation professionals to the centre to switch on their aviation safety curiosity. I also support the centre with course quality reviews and training professionals about aviation safety and get equipped to champion it. For instance, I assisted with running two safety promotion courses in March 2023 which were Human Factors in Aviation and Team Leadership in Aviation.

Professional development in aviation

I’m grateful to AviAssist for providing me with extensive learning opportunities. I did several courses for my professional development. The courses I took include Understanding Your Customers by Open University, Human Factors in Aviation by AviAssist, and Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering by the Delft University of Technology. Through these courses, I gained valuable knowledge and insights that have expanded my understanding of the aviation industry.

The course on Understanding Your Customers taught me essential concepts for improving customer relations. Through this course, I have gained insight into consumer behaviors, which will help me to better understand the needs of our customers.

The Human Factors in Aviation course helped me to understand the role of the human element in the system, especially the aviation system and has equipped me with tools to communicate more effectively with international teams and work across cultures. This is particularly relevant to my work, as I support customers from different countries across Africa.

Furthermore, I’ve learned about the history of aeronautics, principles of flight, fundamental aerodynamic concepts for flying an aircraft, and flight mechanics of aircraft through the Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering course. This knowledge is crucial for the centre’s work, particularly in the context of the aerospace degree that is now being developed in the University of Rwanda. Overall, I am confident that these courses will make me more employable both within the centre and in Rwanda.

Working at Africa's biggest aviation conference & exhibition

I was privileged to participate in the sixth edition of Aviation Africa. The event was organized by our partner Times Aerospace. It is the biggest trade event for the aerospace and defence sectors. The event was scheduled for September 12-13 at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda. Speakers at the summit were leaders from African airlines, civil aviation authorities, business aviation, and support industries. In addition to the summit, the exhibition featured over one hundred global aviation companies including a stand of the AviAssist Foundation, making it an important gathering for anyone involved in the industry.

Team at Banner at Aviation Africa

The AviAssist crew posing for a photo after setting up a stand in Kigali Convention Centre for Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2022. Photo credit: Dr. Lucas van Gerwen. 

I worked with my colleagues with setting up the booth and exhibiting the Foundation’s products and services. I networked with professionals from the aerospace and defence industries and I visited several booths of aviation companies such as RwandAir and Willis Towers Watson. I witnessed the signing ceremony of the cooperation agreement between my organization and Boeing. The agreement includes support for ASPC-Rwanda’s activities. The event helped me discover how aviation companies meet ever-changing demands whilst offering quality passenger experience. Overall, the Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2022 was a fantastic opportunity to learn, network, and engage with industry professionals.

Breaking boundaries: charting the course forward with innovation & creativity

I’m grateful to the AviAssist Foundation for offering me the traineeship. The traineeship program has been providing me with the opportunity to gain first-hand experiences through our daily businesses. I’ve developed several skills such as adaptability, and my ability for facing challenges has grown significantly. I have also been able to acquire essential 21st-century skills, which include Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication with this traineeship program. These skills are vital in the business world today. I look forward to continuing to support the centre by improving customer experience and hopefully pursuing a career in the aviation industry. I am proud to be part of the AviAssist crew, and I will cherish this experience forever.


The AviAssist crew posing for a group photo during a staff outing to Gahanga Green Park in Kigali, Rwanda.

Want to learn more about aviation safety, like Alex? One resource to start learning the AviAssist Foundation aviation club playlist on Youtube. Click here to access that playlist