NEWSLETTER | WOMEN IN MOTION
Flying the Friendly Skies
Too often flight attendants are presumed to be the least important part of one's flight on an airline. What people forget though, is that they are not merely a hostess in the sky; flight attendants today fulfill the dual functions of comfort and, more importantly, safety.
Snoekie Mabena's S.MAB Aviation Training enterprise, part of her company's S.MAB medical mission staffing and training organisation, goes a long way to dispel the cliché of a flight attendant merely being a pretty face at 40 000 feet in the air asking your preference for chicken or beef. On-board personnel are unique, holding responsibilities on aircraft that require specialised, legislated and thorough training,
sound knowledge in safety-related air travel functions and proficiency during possible medical and emergency procedures. However, where most air travellers see the glamour of the uniform, S.MAB Aviation Training focuses on correct and concise preparation of on-board personnel that is world class and professional.
S.MAB Aviation Training, linked to the more established and respected S.MAB Agency, a medical staffing agency which has been operational since 1999 is a fully black-owned business headed by a dynamic and vibrant businesswoman who not only understands the importance of good business and exceptional service, but also helps young people to obtain their dream jobs in the medical and hospitality sectors. Snoekie Mabena as founder and CEO of S.MAB, was the 2003 winner of the Phenomenal Business Woman of the Year award, as well as 2005 winner of the Business Women’s Association Regional Business Achiever Award. She is a committee member of the Association of Nursing Agencies of South Africa (ANASA) and a Board member of the Mohau Centre, a residential care facility for children as well as a member of the Business Women’s Association.
Snoekie’s great passion in all her business ventures is the quest to motivate, educate and develop young people, to help find out who they are, what they want in life and how to reach their life goals, while enjoying what they do. “We here at S.MAB Aviation Training aim to be a leading training provider for flight attendants in South Africa,” says Snoekie. The company continually strives to give each and every learner who passes through their programme the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills that will make a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of all passengers they serve. Snoekie says the company's vision is to provide quality training in accordance with relevant international aviation regulations, in order to produce well trained and outstanding flight attendants, all while giving more young people in South Africa the opportunities to travel the world and, gain exposure to values of transparency, integrity and service excellence. “We believe in a culture of openness, sharing of creative ideas and building sound alliances with partners that enable us to remain leaders in our field,” Snoekie explains, “while embracing honesty and affording respect; fostering trust, and upholding sound ethics in all of our relationships with airlines and the general public that use the airlines.”
Practically, the S.MAB training facilities in Arcadia, Tshwane, for prospective flight attendants at the company include two spacious and air-conditioned training rooms that cater for up to 20 students each per session, while a resource library offers a convenient and central location for students to learn skills and master their different talents. Prospective flight attendants are normally trained over a period that may run from six to eight weeks, with the main focus of training on safety. Safety training includes, but is not limited to: emergency passenger evacuation management, in-flight fire fighting, first aid (including CPR procedures and defibrillation techniques), decompression emergencies, crew resource management and overall security.
As a value-add for airlines and travel businesses, Mabena says that the company also offers tailor-made programmes to airline company staff for annual recurrent and refresher training.“We do not just ask what training you would like or prescribe a set of courses, we also visit your premises, meet with all the relevant stakeholders and expertly assess your critical training requirements,” Snoekie concludes, making the S.MAB Agency, and its subsidiaries, particularly the Aviation Training programme, specifically suited to any organisation and its employees.
by CD Anderson