Glad to have you on here. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do

My name is Timi Iyela, I was born on the 2nd of February 1989, I attended Olumawu Nursery and Primary School Abuja, Adesoye College Offa, American University of Nigeria Yola, and flight training in Florida U.S.A. I am currently a First Officer at Arik Air Limited.

What about being a pilot excites you?

Visiting different countries, meeting new people, learning about different cultures,  viewing the world from a whole new perspective, interacting with leaders,

Obviously with your line of work you travel a lot. Which city has been your favorite and why?

Hmm, that’s a tough question, I’ve been to many exciting cities, but I’ll have to say between Madrid and Toronto, since I have to choose one, I’ll go with Madrid. Madrid is a beautiful city, very welcoming to tourists, open to different races ethnicities and religions. The weather is good, great shopping malls, very good food and of course beautiful people (you know what I mean lol). I’m picking up Spanish language gradually.

What are the steps involved for people looking to get into your line of work?

First of all the passion, before you venture into a career such as aviation, you must be passionate about flying. Many people think that it’s all about the money, but if you are not passionate about flying, you cannot succeed in Aviation. Discipline Determination and hard work all come in to play as well. Education up to university level, enroll at a Flight Training Centre in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, UK, America etc, then apply to the airlines. If there are vacancies and you stand out, you’ll be offered a job. You need to stand out because there are usually few vacancies compared to the many qualified and competent candidates job hunting. There are not many airlines in Nigeria, and in the aviation world, experience is your most marketable asset.

Let’s talk about Nigeria. What kind of opportunities do you see for young Nigerians looking to make something out of themselves

Nigeria is a developing country, yes slow, but we are getting there gradually, with a growing economy, all we need is creativity, tenacity, hard work, patience, focus and perseverance. Nigerian youths need to think out of the box, there are many opportunities in this country, these days graduates finish school with predetermined mindsets to work at banks, oil companies, law firms, hospitals and so on, and when they cannot succeed getting placed in these organizations as a result of the high rate of unemployment, most of them become idle, others start a life of crime and other vices. The youth need to start coming up with practical ideas, be creative, and start up things that can work in this part of the world.

What about Nigeria do you feel is not portrayed in the media

Nigeria has its shortcomings as a developing country, but there are also many good things the media fails to recognize. Nigeria is a warm country, very friendly to foreigners, strong family support systems, good morals, and very happy people. The typical Nigerian is not one to despair even in harsh economic conditions, strong willed, hardworking and religious. Nigerians are some of the most intelligent people in the world, winning laurels and awards in various fields  worldwide. Nigeria recently became Africa’s largest economy, setting standards for all other West African countries.

How can the youth in Nigeria take their place as the next set of leaders?

The youth can take their place as the next set of leaders by developing their capacities, and by becoming actively involved in nation building, reinforcing value systems that are of global relevance by conducting themselves with international best practices as their standard, having a say in governance, by  becoming change agents i e making a conscious effort to correct the various issues affecting national growth even within themselves and then the country as a whole when they become leaders.

Keeping with the theme of this platform, could you tell us how you use your difference to make a difference?

At my current stage, I try to play a little part in impacting the society by being a role model to young Nigerians who want to pursue careers in aviation, I listen to them and give advice to the best of my ability, and I also participate in career fairs. I believe Nigeria will someday become a world force in terms of development, technology and growth. I also believe our greatest asset are the people, and so I try as much as possible to make positive impacts in the lives of the people I meet most especially the less privileged ones. My friend and colleague; Adewale Yusuf and I are currently sponsoring two young boys in our community through school, we mentor in life skills as well.  God willing we plan to increase that number as we progress career wise.

Before we go, tell us where we can find out more about you and what you’re up to

You can always reach me on FacebookTwitterInstagram , LinkedIn and of course at Arik Air Limited main office Ikeja Lagos.