From left: Steven Ruscheinsky, Tanner March and Corey Smith at the OC Career Fair. - Image: Anna Zeitner

College showcases careers at weekend fair

Among the careers on display was commercial pilot, an industry that is in need of workers

A global shortage of commercial pilots, which made headlines in Kelowna earlier this month after local flights were cancelled, has created an even more urgent need for industry professionals to spread awareness of the opportunities that exist in aviation.

Representatives from Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC), Okanagan College’s long term aviation training partner, were at the college’s Kelowna campus all day on Sunday to spread their passion for aviation with would-be pilots.

SIFC was just one of more than 50 employers showcasing careers and educational pathways at Okanagan College’s Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 5.

“The need for commercial pilots has reached an unprecedented level—not just nationally, but globally,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director. “We’ve been training pilots through the Okanagan College Commercial Aviation diploma program for more than 27 years and have certainly seen ebbs and flows but we have never witnessed a need as great as the demand that exists right now.”

Students who take the commercial aviation program, which is a partnership between SIFC and Okanagan College, earn a Transport Canada licence, making them highly sought-after around the world.

“There are far fewer barriers to becoming a commercial pilot these days,” says Vanderaegen. “A student who enters the program can reach a major airline as a junior first officer immediately after graduation, through various industry partnerships, a pathway which used to take closer to a decade in the previous labour market. There are also opportunities for students to access financial and employment awards which makes taking the training much more achievable.”

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