Aviation training programs take flight
According to the State of the Aerospace Industry: 2013 Report released by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and Industry Canada, the Canadian Aerospace Industry ranks high in research and development (R&D) and productivity, and earning more than $42B in revenues. AIAC says that Canadian aircraft systems manufacturers are the suppliers of choice around the world in its industry.
One of the industry giants, Bombardier, selected Centennial College as its trainer of choice in the manufacturing and maintenance of its aerospace products. With Centennial’s stellar aviation programs, the Government of Ontario wants to support the training of professionals and the growth of R&D as it recently awarded up to $26 million for the expansion of the programs and facilities. On October 2013, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the investment which will see an increase of 500 student enrollment when the new facility at Downsview Park is completed in January 2019.
Centennial College has three aviation programs, two of which are aviation technician programs and the third one for pilots. The Pilot Training program is a very hands-on professional training program done in 12 consecutive months at the Oshawa airport. Successful students receive a certificate and are qualified to be a commercial and private pilot. The other two programs explore aircraft manufacturing and maintenance. The Aviation Technician – Avionics Maintenance program focuses on electronics systems including communications, while the Aviation Technician – Aircraft Maintenance program focuses on the mechanical systems.
“The program is an introduction on fixing the indicators, the controls, the consoles of the airplanes and helicopters, along with the inflight entertainment system,” says Mary, a student in the Aviation Technician – Avionics Maintenance program.
“The graduate from (the Aviation Technician – Aircraft Maintenance program) will go out and become an aircraft maintenance engineer, that’s the person that will certify after inspection, any work that was performed in the aircraft., and many of them will actually perform the work as well…We have over 200 mandatory performance tasks that every student has to complete before they can leave here, so it is fairly extensive,” says Jamie Milks, Program Coordinator.
Aviation students currently train at the hangar facilities at the Ashtonbee campus, with several donated aircrafts available for hands-on training. The School of Transportation’s aircraft hangar is licensed by Transport Canada.