By Air Cadet League of Canada
The future workforce needs for the aviation and aerospace sector has become a hot issue, primarily due to the current and pending challenges to ensure an available, qualified workforce across these important Canadian sectors.
Over the past 3 years, the Air Cadet League of Canada commenced a new strategic plan to build programs and services that link the Air Cadets and youth with employers and educators across Canada. Established under the ACES umbrella (Air Cadet Employment Streams), the League has launched some important initiatives that are drawing together key stakeholders for the purposes of training, career development, education and skill development of our youth.
One of the initiatives leading the way is the Triple AAA Career Expos (Aviation, Aerospace and Air Cadets). This project is helping to put the Air Cadet program and the League at the forefront of working to prepare young people for exciting and important careers in numerous occupations.
With two successful Triple AAA Career Expos in Ottawa and Mississauga already under its belt as part of a national series, the League will be hosting the next Expo in Abbotsford, British Columbia on Saturday October 26 at the Cascade Aerospace Hangar.
To date, over 1,500 Air Cadets along with other youth, job seekers and the public have been exposed to over 60 companies and organizations involved in all aspects of aviation and aerospace – manufacturers, flying schools and centres, national airlines, post-secondary educators, private trainers and numerous sector associations. Interactive exhibits, professional guidance, demonstrations and keynote presentations have been the focus at these events, with the use of hangars offering the opportunity for companies to bring aircraft to the shows, to the delight of the Air Cadets.
“We know that the future needs for qualified workers and professionals is going to place a big demand on the industry to become creative and proactive reaching out to the next generation of workers,” noted Scott Lawson who handles business and corporate development for the League at the national level. “As an organization that serves over 27,000 youth annually, who are already getting exposed to a wide range of aviation and aerospace skills and experiences, we are committed to helping build the bridges that can link our young people with all parts of the sectors across Canada.”
In addition to having over 450 Squadrons across the nation, in each and every province and territory, the Air Cadet program had a demographic of 45% female population in the latest program year. The program, overall, represents a diverse, committed and motivated population of young people aged 12-18 who participate in many program areas related to aviation and aerospace. At present, selections are being made to fill the prime opportunities for Air Cadets in the national summer program which includes a range of courses from airport operations, aircraft maintenance, power and glider pilot, and a broad range of other opportunities from leadership to music. Many Air Cadets move on to post-secondary programs with support from scholarships and bursaries offered through the League and which are sponsored by companies, associations and even family foundations committed to aviation and aerospace.
“The Triple AAA Career Expos offer a focused and unique opportunity for employers and educators to directly target this motivated group of young people who are on the cusp of making decisions about their careers and future education and employment,” stated Lawson. “While there may be a short time before some of them are ready for full time employment, it is well known that we need to make the impression and provide the solid information and support to young people in their teens if we hope to address the long-term health of the Canadian workforce.”
Lawson also noted that many of the Air Cadets are available and interested in some opportunities to immediately get engaged with employers in the sector. “From part time to summer employment, and from internships and coop education programs, this is the exact time and age for employers to start communicating with these youth. There may be a great opportunity to integrate a young person into your company at an early stage with a large payoff when they are ready for full time employment in the near future.”
The registration for Exhibitors and Sponsors for the BC Expo is now open. Interested organizations can receive a registration package through Scott Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is your chance to link directly with your future workforce, many of whom will be making decisions soon about their next steps towards careers, whether directly to the workforce or through a career stream at an educational institution.