New opportunity takes flight for BGRD students

Several high school students in Black Gold Regional Division No. 18 (BGRD) are about to get a sky-high learning experience.

The Division is partnering with Elevate Aviation to give students an authentic look at the aviation industry. Through the Elevate Aviation Learning Centre, students will spend five days at Edmonton International Airport and Parkland Airport, speaking with industry professionals and gaining a firsthand understanding of the day-to-day operations through hands-on activities, such as flight simulation and air traffic control training.

“Immersive educational experiences like this are unmatchable in their ability to show students new paths and opportunities,” says BGRD Instructional Designer Jennifer Southcombe.

Southcombe and BGRD’s Learning Services Coordinator Terri Reid are working directly with Elevate Aviation on the opportunity. The collaboration ensures the experience aligns with the Division’s overall approach to student learning.

“When we expose students to careers that they are not familiar with, we expand their horizons and the options that they have as they leave school,” says Reid, “Our goal is to create those opportunities and help them find the path that best suits them.”

The experience is slated for the spring of 2019. More than two dozen high school students from Calmar, New Sarepta, Thorsby, and Warburg will be accepted. Further information on eligibility and dates will be shared in early 2019.

Source: Black Gold Regional Schools

Learning centre at Edmonton airport will help women find careers in aviation

A learning centre opening at Edmonton International Airport early next year will include a program focused on drawing young women into the aviation industry.

The program will help girls and women ages 15 to 24 find opportunities in the industry and connect with employers.

It’s the first program of its kind in Canada, the learning centre’s founder said Wednesday.

“There’s a huge shortage in the aviation industry right now,” said Kendra Kincade, an air-traffic controller and founder of Elevate Aviation.

“We personally want to help women succeed and offer careers where they can have economic security.”

Women are under-represented in Canada’s aviation industry. Fewer than five per cent of commercial pilots are women. Sixteen per cent of air traffic controllers are women. Women make up 11 per cent of aerospace engineers, Kincade said.

Kincade expects hands-on learning may get young women interested in aviation when they enrol.

They will be able to “actually sit and play at a radar screen and let them practice being an air traffic controller,” Kincade said. “Let them get in behind the actual scenes of the airport and I think that will just ignite some excitement.”

Syona McClean, a pilot for the past decade, currently flies a 737 for Canadian North. McClean is planning to be one of the mentors involved in the centre’s program for women.

She’s proud to be a female pilot.

“There’s not too many of us out there,” McClean said. “You see a few more now. It’s pretty amazing. You get to be one of the few females that are working in aviation in a male-dominated industry and you know what? The guys treat you like one of the guys and it’s pretty awesome.”

She said it wasn’t easy to become a pilot, and thinks prospective employees will benefit from the new program.

“When I was younger it would have been nice, for sure, to have a learning centre where I could go up and say, ‘Hey, what am I getting myself into?”

The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre will be located in a hangar next to the Edmonton International Airport. It’s expected to open in March.

By Travis McEwan
CBC News