In our Aug/Sept issue, Rob Erdos muses on float flying and we discuss night aerial firefighting. Plus: Air Canada in the pandemic, KF Aerospace at 50 and Canadians in the Battle of Britain.
As the council of the federation meets in Saskatoon, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) is calling on Canada’s premiers to support aerospace growth across the country by taking a comprehensive approach to training, education, and skills development for aerospace workers.
“One of our most significant competitive advantages in the global marketplace is our skilled workforce. However, training and skills development strategies are inconsistent across the country. We need all provinces working together to create more cohesion and consistency for workers seeking to enter the industry,” said Jim Quick, president and CEO of AIAC. “The leadership and influence that the council of the federation can provide in prioritizing this discussion across the country will help to accelerate that discussion and create new opportunities for our industry and the next generation of Canadian aerospace workers.”
“Virtually everyone I spoke to during our Vision 2025 consultations agreed that Canada is in a fierce competition for talent. The jurisdictions that win that competition will dominate the industry,” said Jean Charest, who chaired AIAC’s recent Vision 2025 initiative and authored Charting a New Course, a report on the future of Canada’s aerospace industry. “If we in Canada can figure out this piece of the puzzle, we will strengthen our position as a global aerospace leader and champion. If we cannot, we will continue to lose ground.”
In his report, Charest noted that aerospace has long been a leader when it comes to creating highly-skilled jobs: the industry’s share of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers is two times the national manufacturing average, and women hold nearly a quarter of all STEM-related aerospace jobs in Canada. However, because the average age of aerospace workers in Canada is 54, the industry faces a significant labour crunch. It is estimated that 50,000 new workers will be required to replace those leaving the sector in the coming years.
The report’s recommendations for increasing Canada’s skilled aerospace workforce include: Creating a national system to coordinate co-op placements and promote the industry to students as a place for growth and opportunity, incentivizing experienced workers to stay on the job, fast-tracking and adapting immigration for skilled aerospace workers and creating national training facilities and investing in the adoption of digital training solutions.