Teaching young Romanians to fly away from unemployment

Teaching young Romanians to fly away from unemployment
By Daniela De Lorenzo
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A school for flight attendants is proving a hit.


A dream of flying – that’s what Anca Dumitrescu and Giorgiana Ene are selling to candidates wishing to enroll on their training course.

For young Romanians – with or without higher education – becoming an air steward or stewardess offers glamour and well-paid employment, which is why thousands are queuing up to climb the boarding stairs to a new career.

Since 2013, Dumitrescu and Ene have been offering a leg up. Back then they recognised a gap in the market - there was no place to find information on how to become a flight assistant. So they launched a website “Vreau să fiu stewardesă” (“I want to be a stewardess”) filling it with relevant pieces of information and tips and organised a conference with experienced flight attendants and other airline business employees.

Their success convinced them to turn their website into a 4 day course converting the information into a “learning and teaching method” in order to increase the chance of getting a job that will earn them up to ten times more than they could otherwise.

The four-day course costs 1500 Lei ( approximately 300 euros) which can be a fruitful investment for young Romanians who, if hired by a European company they can secure a salary of 1500 - 1800 euro per month, or even double that if working in the Middle East.

“We are now a training center: we train people to be more prepared at the interview and to score highly,” Dumitrescu told Euronews.

But it’s not just supply of potential recruits that is rising: “When we started, each major company came to recruit flight assistants once or twice per year,” Dumitrescu says. “Now they do so at least 5 to 6 times per year".

The team of “Vreau să fiu stewardesă” believes that increasing investment from airline companies in their country could be related to the profile of Romanian candidates: hard working, professional and resilient. Being a steward is nothing but hard work as sometimes the schedule could last up until 17 hours.

Their four-day course are open to both genders and over the years, more and more men have shown an interest – stewards now typically make up a quarter of each class.

Flight attendants from top airlines vaunt huge followings on social networks, portraying sky-high perfect lives among the clouds and at beach resorts, their accommodation covered by their employer.

“The demand is huge, when one of the big airlines announces an open day in Romania there can be over 1000 candidates attending the interview process for around 20-30 vacancies.”

That’s why the training course has proven so popular. Good English, no visible tattoos and high motivation are the main requirements and candidates are reminded that the job is tough. The five trainers at the training center - ex-recruiters and flight attendants - focus on developing the candidates’ soft skills such as team and communication skills, and creative thinking for role play tests to solve at the interview round.

In the last five years the company has organised 124 classes, training almost 2,300 students. From the moment the students enroll on the course, “Vreau să fiu stewardesă” promises them that they will guide them until they get a job.

“The teaching really begins when they leave the training center, because they apply for interviews and hence they require non-stop advice,’’ says Dumitrescu. “But it is my mission to get them hired”.

They claim the recruitment rate for alumni is 80%, a fact recognised by the numerous potted plants which successful students like to donate after a successful interview.

The business is expanding internationally, first into neighbouring Moldova but also in Italy, where high youth employment makes the course tempting.

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