Aviation Training vs. Development: What’s the Difference?

Author By Jim Lara
training vs development - man holding green grass

As business leaders, we spend a lot of time and money ‘training’ our professionals. But how much effort do we put into ‘developing’ our people?  What’s the difference between training and development, you ask?

It’s the difference between today and tomorrow.  

It’s the difference between attracting and retaining the “best and the brightest” in contrast to not understanding why that budding superstar just left.

When we train, we only ensure that our folks are equipped to do today’s job. But, when we develop, we’re preparing our professionals for their next growth assignments.

Aviation Training vs. Development

First, let’s agree on some definitions.

Training is defined as helping a person excel in his/her current job.

We do a great deal of training in business aviation, and invest a lot in doing so. In fact, the cost of an initial type rating for a pilot can approach the cost of a college degree! From pilots and maintenance technicians to schedulers and those in administrative positions, we’ve generally got training well covered.

Yet that’s one reason we hear that recurrent training is “boring.” It’s not focused on growing the person for the future.

Development is about preparing each employee for the next step in his/her career.

This is the area where we as leaders often stumble in business aviation. In many performance appraisal systems, there’s a section that addresses individual development planning.

But (being truthful), much of the time this section is either skipped-over or given mere lip service so that we, as people leaders, can get the appraisal form off our desks and back to HR.

It simply doesn’t have to be this way.

Personal Development Plans (PDP) requires individuals (and/or teams) to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Explore new areas
  • Operate on unfamiliar ground
  • Stretch

Creating an individual PDP (which also stands for “pretty darn powerful) will help your them create a more successful future for them and, of course, for your organization.

So…what is your training and development plan for the year?

We encourage you to incorporate a combination of both, then follow up with each individual after a new course or a new project and ask:

  • What did you learn?
  • Did the opportunity meet your expectation?
  • How have these new skills helped you become better at your job?
  • Are you prepared for your next career move?
  • What project, task or leadership assignment would you like to take on next?
  • What are your professional and personal goals?
  • What skills do you need to push through to your break-through goal(s)?
  • Where do you want to be this time next year? Or in two years?
  • How can we give you empower you to go further?

The possibilities are endless!


We’d love to hear your success story below. What opportunities have you been given to stretch and grow?

And, as always, if you’re looking for career and leadership development, we’re here to help!