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Overview of the Aviation & Aerospace Industry

Introduction

The B.C. aerospace industry employs more than 10,000 people and generates $1.2 billion in revenues annually.

It has been highlighted by the government’s BC Jobs Plan as a key sector for growth.

The Canadian aerospace industry is the fifth largest in the world. It is comprised of many Canadian and multi-national companies.

In BC there are over 160 companies active in the aerospace sector. Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul companies make up the majority of the local industry.

B.C. also has leading companies in other sectors including:

  • Aircraft and component manufacturing
  • Manufacture and repair of advanced metals and composite materials
  • Research and development
  • Defence electronics
  • Satellite manufacture and ground tracking
  • Space systems and remote sensing
  • Environmental testing and certification services
  • Logistics support to military forces
  • Technical and flying training

The Province of British Columbia has committed $5 million over five years to develop and grow B.C.’s aerospace industry in partnership with the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) Pacific.

BC’s aerospace industry experts are concerned about the shortage of skilled labour.

The technical nature of the aviation and aerospace industry will make competition for skilled labour higher for this sector than for industries.

Immigrants are seen as an important source of talent as aviation and aerospace companies seek to meet their hiring needs in the years ahead.

The industry has responded to the shortage of skilled workers by developing a number of programs to attract new employees.

One initiative is the ITA’s Immigrants in Trades Training program, which helps skilled immigrants who are unemployed, or employed and low-skilled, overcome barriers to entering the trades, including jobs in aviation and aerospace.

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program offers accelerated immigration for qualified skilled workers who want to settle in B.C. and become permanent residents of Canada.

For more information on the aviation and aerospace sector see:

Occupations in the Aviation & Aerospace Sector

The aviation and aerospace industry is made of up numerous and varied occupations. Each occupation has its own unique set of experience and training requirements.

More than two thirds of the total aerospace industry workforce is qualified as skilled labour. Engineers account for almost 50% of the scientific, R&D, engineering and related technicians category in the manufacturing sector. aviation and aerospace employment categories
Source: State of Canadian Aerospace Industry. Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. 2013

The Aerospace Industry Association of Canada identifies the following occupations to be in greatest demand over the next five years:

  • Engineers, scientists and Research and Development (R&D) specialists
  • Advanced manufacturing technicians
  • Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) highly skilled personnel
  • Supply chain management field experts

In British Columbia, aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) are the primary activities. Both engineers and technicians are currently in high demand.

MRO occupations include occupations such as:

  • Aircraft maintenance engineers
  • Aircraft structural technicians
  • Aircraft gas turbine engine technicians

The Asia Pacific region will also need more than 200,000 additional pilots over the next two decades.

For detailed information on occupations in the aviation and aerospace sector see:

Sources: State of Canadian Aerospace Industry. Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, Current and Future Human Capital Needs in the Aerospace Industry. Prism Economics & Analysis

Hiring Forecast by Region

The majority of jobs in BC’s aviation and aerospace industries are located in the Lower Mainland and Southwest region of the province. However, opportunities for professionals in the aviation and aerospace sector exist throughout the province.

Employment by Region: Aircraft Mechanics & Aircraft Inspectors [NOC 7315]

Aircraft Mechanics and Inspectors Employment by Region Chart from WorkBC Industry Profile: Aircraft Mechanics & Aircraft Inspectors

Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors [NOC 2244]

aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors employment by region Chart from WorkBC Industry Profile: Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors

Finding Jobs

Online Job Postings

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers in the aviation and aerospace industry in British Columbia. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

Additional Resources

Still looking for more information? Try looking at the following resources: