Andy Pender, NZALPA PAN/ CIRP Co-Ordinator
This year’s Peer Assistance Network Training Course initial (3 days) and refresher (1 day) took place over 15, 16 and 17 November. Attendance roll was high with almost all our Peer Support Volunteers in attendance from Air Nelson, Mt Cook Airline, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Jetconnect, Airways NZ, Massey School of Aviation and other GA member organisations namely ICE Aviation, Milford Sound Scenic Flights, a GA Lecturer & Flight Instructor with a keen interest in peer support, as well as a medically retired British Airways pilot who has been studying psychology.
We welcomed two new peer support volunteers from the GA fraternity which is worthy of mentioning as the Peer Assistance Network prides itself on reaching out to our numerous GA organisations in their times of need. Having adequate general aviation representation is important as we are not an industrial body made up of just airline pilots as our name suggests. A great number of our members’ day jobs fall under the fixed wing and rotary general aviation umbrella, and they are not immune from events that swing the Peer Support Network into action.
Over the past few months the program has been enjoying greater exposure throughout the industry thanks to word of mouth around the membership and employer organisation education. Worldwide, the results of peer to peer support are being recognised well when compared to other stress support programs such as the EAP, owing largely to peer support personnel having an immediate appreciation of the unique stressors our industry create.
A special mention of thanks goes to Jetconnect who have become our first financial PAN stakeholder airline. The PAN Committee and NZALPA representatives have also had initial meetings with Airways NZ, Virgin Australia and Massey School of Aviation and as such, are hoping for further news on stakeholders soon.
A large thanks also goes out to those in the membership that have referred colleagues to the PAN team, our assistance is being very well received. Your confidential referrals continue to create over 75% of our assignments, and in turn ensure your colleagues welfare is a priority during stressful periods.
Feedback from PAN Attendee: Vicky Haining, Jetconnect
When I first heard about the development of a Peer Assistance Network here in New Zealand, I knew it was something that I would like to be involved with. I love the idea of pilots helping pilots, so I was really happy to be accepted to join this year’s PAN training course.
During life in general, and an aviation career in particular, there are so many opportunities for stressful events to occur. Over time many of us have sought advice from colleagues or offered support in an unofficial capacity, after all, other pilots and controllers ‘get’ the industry and understand how things work, so the idea of increasing and promoting these avenues further through the PAN programme really appealed to me.
Turning up on Day One, I was really impressed to learn about the wide-ranging backgrounds of all the volunteers. It became apparent during the introductions that we had representation from GA and Instructing, Helicopters, ATC and Airlines. It was great to be joining a group of people from all around the country who had all come together because they were passionate about trying to help strengthen and extend the peer support network.
Over the three days we were able to develop a far greater understanding of the wide range of resources available to our peers, and were lucky enough to benefit from a number of expert speakers who provided useful advice and specialist knowledge around a range of topics relating to aviation medicine and psychology, as well as great overviews of the CIRP and HIMS programmes.
In addition to the confidentiality of the programme, I think that one of the great things about the Peer Assistance Network is the commitment to ALL professional pilots and air traffic controllers, regardless of their role, employer or ALPA membership status. Whether someone is just starting out or in a long established career, it is great to know that support is available through PAN whenever it is needed!
Do you need help or support? Career, life.... NZALPA is here for you. Contact us!
Co-ordinators for both PAN and CIRP:
Mark Mehlhopt 0274 751 709
Andy Pender 027 464 4032