Alberta's aviation industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, resulting in a critical need for highly skilled workers. The grant program, which was launched earlier this year, is designed to address the increasing demand for skilled aviation professionals in Alberta by empowering aviation organizations to help Albertans develop needed skills and talents to grow the province’s aviation industry.
The Aviation Skills Grant is a component of Alberta at Work, a multi-year provincial investment exceeding $700 million, dedicated to helping Albertans develop new skills and advance their careers, which supports Alberta's current and future economy.
Each grant recipient can receive up to $30,000 per trainee to offset costs for new or vacant positions. Applications for the second intake of the program will be open until Dec. 13.
“Alberta is fast becoming Canada's destination for aviation excellence, and Alberta’s government is dedicated to helping businesses continue to expand. Removing barriers to the growth and development of Alberta's airports, increasing our province’s economic competitiveness and reducing labour shortages are key parts of my mandate. The Aviation Skills Grant funding will support this by propelling Alberta’s aviation employers to equip their workers with essential skills.”
Backed by $10 million in total funding for 2023-24 and 2024-25, the Aviation Skills Grant is designed to support the province's aerospace sector, fostering economic expansion and diversification across Alberta. Eligible grant recipients include small, medium- and large-sized employers that represent air transportation, flight schools and aircraft maintenance businesses across Alberta.
“Investing in our aerospace industry is a strategic move for Alberta's economic development. As a landlocked province, our commitment to the aviation sector, including initiatives like the Aviation Skills Grant, creates pathways to new economic frontiers, enhances market access and fuels local employment.”
The program’s first intake was announced in August and more than half of the requested training focused on the roles of pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, directly addressing the high demand for these professions in Alberta's aviation industry. Notable recipients included Airspray, based out of Red Deer Regional Airport, which provides air tanker support to control wildfires, Adventure Aviation, based in Grande Prairie, which has trained pilots for more than 20 years, and WestJet Airlines, Canada’s second-largest airline.
“The Aviation Skills Grant embodies our shared ambition to reach new heights. This initiative strengthens our ability to discover and nurture extraordinary talent, setting the stage for aviation to ascend to unprecedented levels in the years to come. We are immensely grateful to the Government of Alberta for their steadfast dedication to strategically investing in our sector. With the support directed towards flight crew, cabin crew and our operations team training, not only will our industry flourish, but the wider domains of aviation and tourism will also experience significant growth, reinforcing their importance as pivotal economic drivers for the province.”
- The second intake is open until Dec. 13.
- Alberta’s government has a $5-million annual budget for the grant program in 2023-24 and 2024-25.
- Alberta’s aviation industry is ranked third in Canada by company size.
- In 2022, there were 272 air transportation-related businesses in Alberta.
- Alberta’s aviation industry employs an estimated 25,000 people.
- Other government investments in aviation:
- $4.6 million to support community airports through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program.
- $5 million to Elevate Aviation Learning Centre to prepare workers – particularly women, Indigenous people and newcomers to Alberta – in high-demand areas like aircraft maintenance, ground crew, drone operations and air traffic control.