Aerospace: a crying and growing need for succession

In Student Business by dlobjoie

Solve both an issue of a sector and an organization by hosting high school interns!

Arriving in advance at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), I had the opportunity to observe students working in teams and talk about their projects with great enthusiasm. Imprint of the effervescence of the university environment, I was knocking at the office of Mélissa Fafard of AÉROÉTS, one of the Student Business internship partners!

Tell me more about AÉROÉTS.

“At AÉROÉTS, we bring together students, professors and researchers active in aerospace at ÉTS. Across the board, aerospace people are brought together in the various engineering programs: mechanical, electrical, automated production, operations and logistics, software and information technology.

We have 55 professors members who teach or do aerospace research and about 550 student members who participate in our activities (internships, industrial tours, conferences, networking, travel, etc.)

Our mission is to promote aerospace at ÉTS and consolidate the School’s activities in this area. We try to bring value to everyone, to support students who are looking for a career in this field, while meeting the needs of the industry as best as possible. ”

Tell me more about the need for succession and workforce in the aerospace sector

“Montreal is among the 3 largest aerospace hubs in the world with the cities of Toulouse and Seattle. There is a huge need for aerospace succession in Quebec. To give an idea, nearly 40,000 Quebeckers work in this field, and many of them will retire in the coming years.

It is in this context that AÉROÉTS sits on the “Chantier Relève” and workforce of Aéro Montréal, the industrial cluster of the sector. These are concerns that are very present among businesses and we have the same on the side of our succession at ÉTS.

By taking part in Classes Affaires we are responding to an issue in our sector, but also to an issue in our organization! ”

How was the reception of the interns?

“We participated in 2 weeks called” Course “where we received two groups of 15 students for one day. They were introduced to the aerospace engineering profession and the academic route to access it, then we took them to visit research labs and meet student science clubs. We wanted to be different from what they had seen at EMAM or ÉNA during the rest of the week.

The idea was to show them the university environment, the students and different aspects of the work of an aerospace engineer. See with them if they would see them studying at the university and then work in the field of engineering.

They are much younger than our students, so it was a challenge for some of our volunteers to adapt their speech! However, these young people were really excited and they made several connections between their learning in maths, science and technology and what they were shown at ÉTS. ”

Do you think that some will go in aerospace for the continuation of their studies?

“Interest seemed mixed, which is perfectly normal. Some already seemed to confirm their interest in aerospace and hopefully at ÉTS! But no matter if they choose this course or another, it is important at their age to be able to discover different workplaces to better know what suits their interests and what does not suit them. ”

In your case, how did your school progress?

“Not in a straight line. This is one of the reasons that pushed me to participate in the program. At the time (the 1990s), there was no well-developed career exploration project. It was difficult to ” discover ” a job in a concrete way. Career exploration projects are more and more present at school and we must encourage them! ”

Would you have a message to organizations in your area?

“I encourage you to take part in the Student Business program! If we want to prepare our succession, it must begin with awareness of high school. We want them to know the aerospace and the different routes that this area offers them. At the engineering level, we are particularly in competition with areas such as video games that are very visible to young people, so we have to show them that the aerospace sector is equally dynamic and interesting. ”

Do you have a message for young people interested in aerospace?

“With more than 200 companies in Quebec, the aerospace industry needs ambitious, creative and talented young people like you! As a future engineer, you will find plenty of internship opportunities during your studies, then well-paid jobs and advantageous working conditions to make your career.

If you are interested in airplanes, helicopters, drones, flight simulators, satellites or space exploration, we look forward to developing the technologies of tomorrow. ”

This article is part of a series of portraits of mentors 2017 that will be published punctually by the summer.
The photo on the cover of the article was produced by Marie-Pierre Savard in 2014 at EMAM and the complementary images come from AÉROÉTS.