Naveed Kapadia- Founder & Managing Director of INQUISITIF™ – An Aviation Business & Management Consultancy.

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Introduction:

Naveed Kapadia, whose career expertise includes research and development of flight crew training to enhance safety, commercial management, programme and project management of strategic initiatives. He has held many senior executive positions within the aviation industry and is a qualified pilot with an MSc in air transport management from City University of London. He is also the MSc bursary winner from Royal Academy of Engineering. He is now a founder and managing director of ‘INQUISITIF™’– an aviation and business management consultancy.

What a typical day looks like?

No one day is same. Being a business owner means that you have to be very patient, flexible and ready to take advantage of any opportunities that exists within your reach. Having the ability to offer professional diagnosis including assessment of overall organisational effectiveness and its future viability in a changing world, detailed analysis of not only the symptoms but also the causes of challenges at hand require a friendly and collaborative approach to offer an unbiased overview. The day can be varied from producing in depth analysis and informative report writing to facilitating transparency and transformational change. Recent projects include pilot employment overview within Europe, EU-Exit and long-term impact of training methodology of flight crew.

Top tips to succeed

Remain inquisitive, keep looking for the ways in which you can improve and get better every day. Humility with inner belief to care about all around you will mean that you will earn the respect and gravitas with which to deliver exceptional results with integrity. You have to be the hardest worker around. The experience you will gain form working in a corner shop to an international organisation will provide you with a unique insight about you. You have to be ready to ask for help and offer help in equal measures if not more. Acquiring expertise in a specific area will come from immersing yourself into the industry and surrounding yourself with people who are experts. Look for mentors, ask for feedback, improve your ability to bounce back from events and situations that you hadn’t planned or thought of. Above all, be kind to yourself and take time to process what is occurring in your life and be willing to adapt.

What is the best thing about your current role?

The ability to share my experience, expertise while also being open to a new paradigm shift has been a key driver for me and has empowered me to continue to grow as a person. Being an experienced aviation consultant has enabled me to be more flexible, agile and consider projects that may not have been within my comfort zone. As a founder & managing director of INQUISITIF™ I feel a huge weight of responsibility in being honest, upfront and yet compassionate with my client’s objectives. This responsibility has provided me with a freedom to present solutions that are not tied to any legacy issues with emotional attachment. I insist on doing the right thing with integrity and courage. The fact that I am able to do that without fear of reprisal provides me with a greater sense of purpose in what I do now. I have realised that being a pilot was not about just attaining a licence and flying planes. It is a way of life that encourages lifelong skills in problem solving, workload management, resilience, teamwork and can help you not only to survive but adapt and excel in whatever line of work you decide to pursue later on in your lives.

Piece of advice for someone looking to enter your field. 

Aviation is an exceptionally rewarding career like no other. Be prepared for the hard work and ever-changing landscape. Aviation is susceptible to external factors such as geopolitics, natural disasters and economics to name the few. Therefore, it is recommended to have additional skills and education to back it up. Aviation will provide many lifelong skills that will be transferrable, but it pays to have something concrete to back it up. Therefore, anyone looking for a career in aviation and aerospace must also look at the safety net or plan B to fall back on that will help them up skill and continue to be able to see the more challenging times through. It is inevitable that everyone will come across some form of challenges in their professional and personal lives, we must be better prepared for a challenging and yet a rewarding profession.

What made you join the Royal Aeronautical Society? 

I was very intrigued with the Royal Aeronautical Society’s efforts to bring the aviation community together. From the historical case studies, thought provoking ideas to celebrating success in the aviation and aerospace is critical in engaging with the next generation. RAeS provides the platform to look at wider aspects where we can truly make a difference. I am honoured to be able to contribute in some ways and look forward to collaborating together form many years to come. The continuous learning opportunity via industry specific lectures and networking events made it possible for me to have a wider appreciation of the challenges and opportunities.

 

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Captain John Alcock and Arthur Whiten Brown who made the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic on June 12, 1919. Despite the lack navigational capability, unfortunate events and an unflattering landing, the flight had been a triumph of resilience and determination. This really resonates with my experience of a career in aviation where there are likely to be many twists and turns and one must be resourceful, determined and pursue the passion with continued rigour and commitment.

What challenges have you faced and what do you feel is the biggest challenge for the industry (if any)? 

The experience of being a young passionate aviation professional working my way up presented me with many hurdles and hampered my progress significantly. Access to affordable higher education, finances, overcoming unconscious biases and challenges with social mobility especially for BAME communities still remain a considerable challenge. Apprenticeship, internships and bursary schemes are beginning to make an impact, but it is not enough as we need a better representation of our society within this industry. Financial support and early guidance to nurture the talent from underrepresented communities and tackle gender bias based on capability rather than a privilege. Diversity and inclusion with social mobility is still something we need to look at from a different perspective but with a sense of urgency. We need the aviation and aerospace to be a career where anyone with the right skills and capabilities can thrive. I am an advocate for meritocracy, and we need to enable the basic foundations from the early stages in life and minimise or eradicate any barriers to entry into aviation and aerospace. The diversity of experience and perspective will make our society more inclusive, relatable and self-sustaining to continue to nourish the aviation and aerospace sector.

It is also worth discussing that the pandemic has exacerbated the above challenges on a much broader scale and for a wider aviation community. We need to equip the next generation better for the resilience and adaptability that is needed within the aviation and aerospace industry today. A more immediate challenges is to make this industry an attractive option despite the negative press on mass redundancies, airlines failing and overall a detrimental impact of the pandemic on aviation. The visible impact is heart breaking and this may alienate or worst deter new entrants to this amazing industry. How we cope and come out at the other end will define the UK aviation and aerospace sector.

Aerostories #Pilots #Engineering #Operations

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