May 3, 2023
Last November, the Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace (CCAA) estimated that the sector will need an additional 58,000 workers “in key skilled occupations” by 2028.
This shortage is affecting every aspect of the aviation industry. There aren’t enough workers to manufacture aircraft. There aren’t enough engineers and scientists to innovate new technologies. And there aren’t enough pilots, flight attendants, ground personnel, or aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) to operate and maintain existing fleets.
The opening of our new museum with its interactive exhibits, two dedicated classrooms, and established programming put us in a position to address this problem.
After our CEO, Terry Slobodian, spoke at the Manitoba Aerospace AGM in June of 2022, representatives from across Winnipeg’s aviation and aerospace industries and educational institutions approached us about working together to inspire students to pursue careers in these fields.
One of the first significant partnerships we established was with the Winnipeg School Division (WSD).
With 78 schools, the WSD is the largest of six public school divisions in Winnipeg, as well as the largest and oldest school division in Manitoba. Its schools collectively teach over 33,000 students, in central, pre-unicity Winnipeg.
The first initiative with WSD was a series of immersive, one-week “camps” at our museum. Three different teachers brought their classes to RAMWC every day for a week. In addition to the lessons each teacher had prepared that incorporated various aspects of the museum, our educators did a number of STEM-based lessons with the classes.
Then, last month, we partnered with WSD for Aviation and Aerospace Career Discovery Days. On April 10 and 11, 2023, high school students from across the division had the opportunity to attend a two-day event introducing them to careers and opportunities in the aviation and aerospace fields.
Grades 9 to 12 students explored many different professions in the field by participating in workshops and activities throughout the two days. Students participated in hands-on activities or STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) related challenges.
Inspiring guest speakers also enhanced the experience. Luke Penner, Canada’s top-ranked aerobatic pilot shared his story and Kimberly Ballantyne spoke of her 20-year journey to becoming the first female Indigenous pilot from Opaskwayak Cree Nation.
Industry partners around the city also came to do demonstrations, discuss career pathways, and answer questions. For two days, the museum was buzzing with excitement as students’ eyes were opened to all the possibilities that the aviation and aerospace sector presents.
Sylvia Martin, Aviation Program Coordinator, AMMOP Coordinator, and Student Services Department Head at Tec Voc High School was one of the driving forces behind this event.
“Without the commitment of this partnership, many of our students would never have the opportunity to participate in these amazing learning experiences,” Sylvia explains. “By collaborating with industry, the Royal Aviation Museum and WSD work on bridging the gap and strengthening connections between education and industry. At the museum there is a quote that says, “The sky is not the limit” and through these experiences, it is our hope that our students are inspired by history, to pursue their goals for the future.”
When we built our new museum, we knew we wanted education and inspiration to be priorities. We’re so glad for partners like WSD that are helping us succeed and can’t wait for our next collaboration.
Support future education initiatives of the Royal Aviation Museum with a donation to our Access Fund. DONATE NOW.
Thank you to all of our event sponsors!
Activities and booths sponsored by:
Delphi Technology Corp.
UM Price Faculty of Engineering
Royal Canadian Air Cadets
Royal Canadian Air Force
Civil Air Search and Rescue Association