In his letter (Flight International, 17-30 December, "Standard confusion") Marshall Clarke expresses confusion about the difference between being qualified for work as a professional pilot and being adequately trained.

When a trainee pilot completes his/her initial licence training (no matter which route has been used), there is usually a significant gap between the knowledge and experience level achieved and that required by an employer.

Many airlines require additional training to bring the pilot from the basic licence qualification level up to readiness for type rating training. To say that everyone who manages to gain an ATPL(F) is "suitable" for an airline career also makes the assumption that his or her personal qualities will fit an employer's requirements.

It remains a cause for concern that our industry still includes some organisations that will charge thousands of pounds for training people without thoroughly analysing their career prospects.

That analysis should include not only a full selection and assessment procedure, but clear identification of target employment opportunities. I know of no empirical data that quantifies this problem, but apocryphal evidence suggests that up to a third of those who set out to self-fund professional pilot training never achieve their dream of airline employment.

The CTC McAlpine Sponsored Cadet Scheme is, in part, an attempt to address this problem, and to ensure that those starting out on this path achieve success. I would like to correct Mr Clarke's assertion that pilots under the scheme are expected to "work free for six months" on completion of the training. There is a six-month probationary period, during which time a living allowance is paid.

Chris Clarke Chairman CTC McAlpine, Southampton, UK

Source: Flight International