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Wamea - Should Nait Close Its Aviation Programs?


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I just received this yesterday



A message from the president, Western Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association


You may not know that the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has decided to suspend the Avionics Engineering Technology and Aircraft Skin & Structure Repair programs. I have offered to pass on the following request from the aviation program staff to you - our membership and interested parties, and ask you to answer the questions below that apply to you, and email them to me.

I will forward them to Bill Baker, an AME, a member of WAMEA, and an instructor at NAIT.


"NAIT has decided to to suspend the Avionics Engineering Technology and Aircraft Skin & Structure Repair programs. One of their issues was job for grads. NAIT has focused on lack of jobs in Edmonton, and no amount of argument that we are training for a national market would change their minds.


Current and prospective students for the aviation programs have told us that they want to remain in Edmonton due to family support and financial restrictions. Our aviation programs are well respected in the aviation community, and are well established. If suspended, the facilities will be scrapped forever, never to be reinstated.


We are asking the industry and individuals working in aviation for your input and support of our efforts to save these two valuable programs. Their suspension will remove quite a large number of potential AMEs from entering the work force.


We all know that there is a shortage of trained people, and with an aging workforce this is only going to get worse. NAIT has already made its decision, but the Alberta Government has to approve it. We need to speak up and inform the government of this.


Here are some questions for you, to gather some information from industry and its people to compile and send to the Alberta government. Some questions are more suitable to be answered by employers, and some by individuals. Please talk this up in your workplace, and find a few moments to dash of a quick reply to me. Time is critical, so please reply by midnight Wednesday February 10."


1. Have you had difficulty finding trained personnel to fill your vacancies for avionics or structures?


2. If you don't have avionics or structures in your shop, has the service you receive from those specialty shops been affected due to lack of trained personnel?


3. Have you employed NAIT grads in the past? If so, how many? And, were you satisfied with their attitude, technical knowledge, knowledge of TC requirements, troubleshooting abilities, and adaptability to other skill sets?


4. Are you anticipating hiring avionics or structures personnel in the near future?


5. Would you hire NAIT grads in the future?


6. Are you a graduate of NAIT's aviation program?


7. Do you think it is important to have these courses taught in Edmonton?


I will forward your replies on to Mr. Baker, so that he can use them in pleading the case for retaining these aviation programs.

NAIT has taken a narrow focus for program justification to be jobs in Edmonton, but the institute has a wider mandate (what's the A stand for?). Aviation by its nature is distributed throughout the country, and is regulated on a national level, but there are no national schools. If you don't want to see another aviation maintenance training centre disappear, please lend your voice and reply as soon as you can. Remember, "The world is run by those who show up."


Until next time,


Peter Jenkins



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