Whatever our role is in aviation, we require a specific set of skills to do it.

Whether we’re pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, cabin crew, aviation security officers, ground handlers, check-in staff, or managers, each of these roles requires unique technical training to do the role competently.

But something common to every role in aviation, and in most industries, is the need for people to have a strong set of ‘non-technical skills’, or NTS. These are a broad range of cognitive, social and personal skills that complement the technical skills we bring to our role.

These skills help us conduct our work safely and efficiently. Skills such as how to make effective decisions, listen, lead, follow, work together effectively as a team, give and receive feedback, and how to have a constructive but difficult conversation.

NTS is a broad term encompassing the ‘human skills’ everyone in aviation needs to operate safely. In the past these skills have been referred to within aviation as Crew Resource Management (CRM) and, in many organisations, still are. But the term CRM can lead to the idea that these skills are needed only in the cockpit and aircraft cabin.

What about air traffic controllers who must coordinate with each other to make sure the traffic flows safely through our skies, engineers who work as a team on aircraft maintenance, aviation security officers who monitor passengers and baggage, or managers who oversee the whole operation?

Click on any of the tiles below to learn more about each individual NTS and how it contributes to aviation safety.

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If you have any questions about this topic, email humanfactors@caa.govt.nz