Gordon Griffiths’ career in aviation has been built from the ground up over many years of meticulous work. It started, as he himself says, ‘more or less by accident’, when he took an open job position at Luton airport, working as a baggage loader. Gordon considers this first job as having been a great opportunity, he realized that he enjoyed working in an airport, he cherished the camaraderie with his colleagues. This experience showed Griffiths that the aviation industry is one he wanted to remain in.
From a baggage loader position, Gordon steadily escalated his career, making his way upwards through various positions in an airport until he reached directorial work. Griffiths feels that every position awarded him with more credibility. He had a solid background of understanding the people working on the ground, their experiences, what they were exposed to. Gordon attributes his impressive professional path to this slow and steady progression. He also adds that his willingness to move from one airport to the next, following the best opportunities was very beneficial for his career.
However, there is one thing that Griffiths would change about his career and that is working and studying simultaneously, because that pressure could have been avoided. Other than the timing of his education, Gordon never had any regrets or doubts about his chosen profession. As he says, ‘once aviation is in your blood, it stays with you’. He feels that fostering a career in aviation was definitely the right decision and in his 40 years of work Griffiths never felt he didn’t want to go to work. As Gordon himself put it ‘If you enjoy your work, you don’t really work’.
Although Griffiths’ resume is filled with impressive job positions and projects, he admits that one job stands out as the most special. He deems working for IATA as Head of Airport Development of Asia Pacific, ‘the ultimate role’ of his career. Not only did he spend a wonderful time there, but while in Singapore, he also got the idea to start teaching.
Just as he stumbled upon his first job in aviation, his interest in teaching was also sparked accidentally. His office in Singapore happened to also be a training center. He decided to listen in on a few classes and realized that he would love to do what the lecturers were doing – share his experience with others. As Gordon put it ‘the penny dropped’ and he started delivering courses on airport operations at the same training center.
Griffiths is proud to say that his lectures were focused on sharing the realistic and practical knowledge he had gathered from his long spanning career. Soon, IATA asked Gordon to deliver courses outside of Singapore and he has been teaching ever since.
One of his favorite parts of lecturing has been engaging with the participants of his courses. Gordon feels that the aviation industry is people-oriented, that forming connections, having conversations is essential. The pandemic, therefore, has been quite a challenge, the communication got distorted, everything started taking place online. But the situation also highlighted the benefits of virtual learning, how cost-effective it can be, it seems to Gordon that e-learning is ‘the way forward’. Gordon Griffiths talks more about virtual learning, his Aeroclass course and other interesting aviation topics in our Expert Talk available for everyone.
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