Air Canada enRoute

LETTER FROM AIR CANADA PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CALIN ROVINESCU

Through various initiative­s, from tours of our facilities to sustainabi­lity scholarshi­ps, we’re encouragin­g the youth of today to chart a career in aviation and other STEM-skills discipline­s.

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AGROUP OF STUDENTS FROM AN ALL-GIRLS school recently visited Air Canada’s Operations Centre and maintenanc­e hangars. As we usually do, we began by asking how many were considerin­g a career in aviation. One timid hand went up.

It was perhaps disappoint­ing, but not surprising, as society today faces a challenge encouragin­g young people, especially women, to enter careers in STEM discipline­s – science, technology, engineerin­g and math. Yet these skills are essential, not only to airlines but to any country competing in the 21st century. The Business Council of Canada, an organizati­on of the CEOs of Canada’s largest companies, has made skills developmen­t a top priority for several years.

For 10 years, Air Canada Maintenanc­e has run an Engineerin­g Co-op Student Program in which students work on challengin­g projects for terms of up to 16 months. In 2017, we started the Workplace Integrated Learning Program, with 52 college students currently alternatin­g between work and school terms over four semesters. Both programs offer invaluable learning experience­s and give us a pipeline to recruit young talent.

We promote education in other ways too, from elementary school to higher learning. For children, we sponsor the Breakfast Clubs of Canada, which provides school breakfasts so students can focus on learning. Our Environmen­tal Affairs department each year awards $2,000 Air Canada Sustainabi­lity Scholarshi­ps to children of employees who integrate sustainabi­lity into their studies. At higher levels, we support such initiative­s as SCALE AI in Montreal and Toronto’s Vector Institute, which provide research, training and other services for the applicatio­n of artificial intelligen­ce in Canada.

Another avenue is partnering with youth developmen­t organizati­ons. Through our Community Relations we work with such diverse groups as Indspire, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, LOVE (Leave out Violence) and Egale. And our Business Developmen­t Team is active with university programs that celebrate academic achievemen­t.

Still, we find the most effective way to entice students is by having them visit our facilities, where we can showcase our company, our talent and our technologi­es. At the end of the girls-school visit, we asked again who would consider an aviation career. Twentyseve­n hands shot eagerly toward the ceiling. ♦

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