Guest blog courtesy of Accelerate Okanagan

Back to School?

Working in aerospace and aviation is exciting! If you are looking for a career on the front lines, there are a number of programs right here in the Okanagan that can get you there. Let’s look at some of the career options available and a few educational offerings that can help one take on an aerospace or aviation profession.

COMMERCIAL PILOT

Did you know there is a global pilot shortage? There has never been a more opportune time to become a commercial pilot. The Okanagan is lucky enough to have a number of programs available. Here are just a few:

If you want to explore further, here’s alist of all the flight training schools and clubs in Canada.

AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE ENGINEER

Aircraft Maintenance Engineers complete inspections, maintenance, repair, and modifications on aircraft. This is a hands-on job with some physical requirements. To be licensed for these kinds of jobs is divided into 3 different ratings:

  1. Maintenance ("M" rating)
  2. Avionics ("E" rating)
  3. Structures ("S" rating)

There are a couple of options for this type of training with the province. Here are just a few:

  • Okanagan College – M license – Vernon Aerospace campus for the first 48 weeks and the final 14 weeks at theNorthern Lights College Aerospace Centre in Dawson Creek.
  • BCIT – M license – 64 weeks full time at the Aerospace Technology Campus in Richmond.
  • An “E” license allows you to work on the electronic aspects of the aircraft like flight controls, autopilot, navigation, communication, in-flight entertainment, and monitoring systems. You don’t have to go too far for this training.
  • BCIT – E license– 68 weeks full time at the Aerospace Technology Campus in Richmond
  • An “S” license allows you to complete aircraft fabrication, assembly, installation, and repair schemes for: aluminum, titanium and stainless steel structures; windscreens, windows, and lenses; and, plastics and composites. This license can be obtained through a partnership of Okanagan College and industry partner, KF Aerospace.
  • Okanagan College – S license – 37 weeks at the Kelowna Aerospace Campus (at the Kelowna Airport)

Want more information or looking for a different school/program? Here is a list of all of the Transport Canada approved / acceptable training organizations for AME training.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Many educational institutions offer their own scholarship programs, but there are also other options in BC to help offset the costs of pursuing a career in aviation. The British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC), offers scholarships for many of the programs noted above. You must be nominated by a member, but it’s valuable to note thatBCAC offers free membership to students. The scholarships and awards are given out annually at an event calledSilver Wings Industry Awards Gala, happening October 23, 2018, in Vancouver. There’s lots of time to get an application ready for next year.

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