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Helping to ‘Design and Build’ Workforce Solutions for Aviation and AerospaceA new corporation has been created to focus on supporting the aviation and aerospace industry to prepare the future workforce.A new corporation has been created to focus on supporting the aviation and aerospace industry to prepare the future workforce. R.E.A.L. Services Canada is a federal, not-for-profit corporation that emanated out of the Air Cadet League of Canada last fall to build and expand on programs and services both for youth and others looking to join the many occupations and professions across Canada. “REAL was developed to become a support system to employers and future employees so that this sector can continue to be a leading part of our Canadian economy”, noted Lawson who has taken the reigns at REAL as it transitioned programs and services through a collaboration agreement with the Air Cadet League. “REAL allows us to operate training and employment-based services that were not eligible under the ACL charitable designation and also expands our reach to focus on any youth in Canada, even those who are older than Cadets who age out at 19 years”, Lawson confirmed. “While an important priority of our services and programs is to invite and engage Cadets to participate, we also know that the industry will need a larger pool of future workers to fill the many needs in different regions, different parts of the sector and across a broad range of occupations.”
A number of previous initiatives are now under the direction of REAL and some exciting new initiatives are underway and in the planning phase. They continue to work with employers and associations to try to bridge, create and support initiatives that will link youth and those not in the workforce to future career streams in aviation and aerospace.
“We know that workforce development – preparing the future workers for your sector – is a significant and large undertaking that most employers cannot spend the time and resources to oversee by themselves. Especially smaller organization and especially during these challenging times when resources and focus on operations is tight” explained Lawson who has worked with the sector for the past 11 years. “REAL’s mission is to be the conduit, catalyst or broker to facilitate some of the workforce planning and development needed to build new options and opportunities for young people.”
Lawson noted that they are continually looking at challenges and opportunities identified by the sector and to engage with employers and associations in order to collaborate on designing and building the correct solutions. A key mission is to build streams that will get qualified workers into the sector in the most effective and direct way. With a mission to be a catalyst to help drive new initiatives and spearhead new projects that can address the workforce needs, REAL is underway with some current projects and is interested in working directly with employers and sector bodies to establish new directions that will support all parties.
Some of the current initiatives and development underway through REAL include the following:
• AIM-AA project (Advance Incubator Model for Aviation and Aerospace), is a new initiative to assist the sector to design, build and test new concepts and models to prepare the future workforce. Funded through a private foundation, and supported by some corporations such as JAZZ Aviation and CAE, AIM-AA is a leading opportunity to create new pathways to get young people ready, motivated and trained for exciting professions.
AIM-AA brings industry employers together for purposes of ‘designing, testing, evaluating and launching’ new training and skill development models that target youth aged 14-21 who are looking for careers in the sector.
A key goal is to help youth be more prepared, skilled and focused on education and employment directions for specific occupations in aviation and aerospace. The foundation of AIM-AA is to customize new models and concepts that will help to improve, build or create initiatives that support skill development and education across any selected occupation.
The project is pan-Canadian and the REAL has launched new models working with interested employers, educators and associations to implement training and skill development initiatives. “In our consultations with industry partners leading up to this application, a priority goal was to try out some new concepts, or build on existing models, that could engage and motivate more young people to choose careers in the sector,” noted Lawson. “AIM-AA was created to incubate new ideas, concepts and training models at different academic and skill development levels so that companies can tap into new ways of reaching their future employees.”
Despite some adjustments needed due to COVID, AIM-AA has already produced some exciting opportunities for employers and youth in such areas as pilot training, RPA training, STEM training for aviation and aerospace. REAL is interested in building on the successes to date end encourage all employers and associations to get engaged. “This is a significant opportunity to help design the type of training and workforce development programs and models that will directly benefit companies as they look a bit down the road to preparing and engaging young people for employment”, stated Lawson. “It’s certainly one of the best investments the sector can make – helping to build and grow the future employees who will lead their companies and the sector in the future”.
• YIPEE (www.yipee.ca) is a new website and mobile portal that focuses on careers, education and employment in aviation and aerospace. Filled with information about different occupations in the sector, links to employers and educators across Canada, career articles and specialized webinars, YIPEE is free to all visitor and users. Aviation companies and associations can be members through one of the packages available. Amongst other webinars recently held, LCol Maryse Carmichael (ret’d) was a guest presenter who offered advice and guidance to youth and others on building a career in the sector as she spoke to a large audience of keen viewers.
• Virtual Pilot Training, a new, virtual training initiative offered in alliance with Delphi Technologies Corporation out of Winnipeg, is in testing phase at present with the future looking very promising. The leading-edge virtual training platform offers a new opportunity for individuals to gain the skills needed to write their recreational pilots exam. Designed as a virtual training campus, and built on ‘gaming’ interactivity, the system known as VR City combines Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality programming with 3D and Ai capabilities to offer a one-of-a-kind training experience for aspiring aviators. Once current, live testing is complete, a major goal is to offer this leading training solution to educators, employers, flight schools and high schools as a main way to training and prepare future pilots for Canada…and beyond. For more information about these initiatives, or to engage with REAL Services Canada to discuss your workforce development needs and opportunities, Scott can be reached through the following: