“Most well-established companies on PEI are currently hiring,” says Allan Campbell, Provincial Director, Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association (ACADA). “The jobs are full-time, year round, pay well, and there are great benefit packages.”
CADA has about 150 members, and 16 of those companies are on PEI. “Companies are hiring for a range of jobs such as machinists, welders, CNC programmers, and operators. The industry is also looking for computer programmers and coders, electrical and mechanical engineers, and sales people.
“StandardAero at Slemon Park is growing and hiring. Aspin Kemp and Associates and MDS Coating Technologies Corp. post jobs regularly. There is growth in the industry and it continues to do well.”
Allan says a recent start-up called Redrock Power Systems in Charlottetown is showing tremendous potential.
Promoting the long-lasting careers in this sector
Allan does presentations to secondary and post-secondary students and employment groups across the Island to raise awareness of the sector.
“I start off by telling my own employment story,” says Allan. “I have dealt with a lot of changes in my career, which is the case for most people.
“If you work in the aerospace and defence sector, chances are you will remain in the industry and even with the same company long term. The sector offers stable employment, career advancement, and continuous in-house training.
“I know one young man in his early 20s who is now paying into a pension fund and has a full benefit package and no student loan, and he just purchased a home. He started with a high school co-op placement in an aerospace company. He worked with the company during the summer and then entered the Holland College Gas Turbine Engine Repair & Overhaul Technology program.
“This is an industry that allows post-secondary graduates to finish their education with low to no debt and well-paying jobs.”
Encouraging youth and females to consider a career in this sector
“We encourage youth to explore and find their passion. We are also trying to increase the participation of females in the industry. Actually females have an advantage in working in this industry because it requires a lot of fine motor ability working with small parts and in small spaces.”
Allan says one of the key attributes needed to succeed in this industry is having a fascination and ability to take things apart and put them back together.
“A fundamental understanding of math and physics and proficient communication skills are also important. While post-secondary education is important to the industry, additional training is always going on.
“Companies have let me know they will accommodate people who are interested in touring and getting a first-hand look at their facilities.
“Many of our companies use leading edge technology, and they are renowned globally for their quality work.”