As Alberta’s economy continues to diversify, and as the province’s aviation industry continues to grow, more skilled workers are needed to make the skies safer and contribute to the availability of frequent flights. A total of 40 grants to 33 employers have been approved through the Aviation Skills Grant program. This reflects a significant commitment to advancing aviation excellence in our province and making Alberta Canada’s premier aviation hub.

More than 2,000 trainees will benefit from up to $30,000 in funding for training from these grants, equipping them with the tools to meet the evolving needs of employers. The program focuses on improving access to training programs for pilots, including Class 4 instructors, multi-engine operation and wing conversion training, as well as nighttime or mountain flight training for both airplanes and helicopters. Training in quality assurance, aircraft maintenance engineering and manufacturing have also emerged as new areas of focus.

"The Aviation Skills Grant underscores our government’s commitment to helping the aviation industry take off. This program is fueling highly skilled workers in the aviation sector and is helping to reduce labour shortages, increasing our province’s economic competitiveness and facilitating the growth and development of Alberta’s aviation and aerospace industry.”

Matt Jones, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade

More than 50 per cent of all grants from this latest intake were provided for in-house training, demonstrating employers are growing and cultivating talent from within their organizations and fostering cultures of continuous learning and development. Some notable recipients of these grants include WestJet, the Calgary Flying Club, the Edmonton Flying Club, Airborne Energy Solutions Inc. and STARS.

Some of this training is especially timely for wildfire season. Eight employers are making use of the Aviation Skills Grant funding to train people to fight wildfires. This includes training pilots on how to use night-vision goggles and technology for fire suppression, as well as specialized flight training to operate planes and helicopters equipped with air tankers or water bombers.

The workers and organizations benefitting from the Aviation Skills Grant are playing a pivotal role in driving growth and excellence within the aviation industry. By investing in training initiatives to address the evolving needs of employers, the Aviation Skills Grant is propelling Alberta's aviation sector to new heights.

“This is an exciting opportunity for people to seek careers in one of the fastest growing sectors in Alberta. We have a rich aviation history, and this program fits hand in glove with our investments in aviation infrastructure, like airport rehabilitation and runway upgrades to support and grow this vital sector.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

“The Aviation Skills Grant has been an extremely beneficial program that has allowed us to develop the pilot skills necessary to hire new instructors and promote existing instructors into senior training positions. With all these new instructors, the program has made a huge impact on our capacity to train additional new pilots for careers in aviation.”

Terry St. George, general manager, Calgary Flying Club

The Aviation Skills Grant program is part of Alberta at Work – a multi-year, cross-ministry investment to help Albertans develop new skills and grow their careers to support Alberta’s economy now and in the future.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s aviation industry is significant, ranked third in Canada by company size, fourth by number of companies and fourth by GDP contribution in aerospace and defence.
  • In 2023, there were 288 air transportation-related businesses in Alberta.
  • Alberta is home to WestJet, the second-largest Canadian airline, which operates almost 800 flights carrying 70,000 passengers daily.
  • Alberta’s aviation industry employed about 28,000 people on average in 2023, accounting for 1.1 per cent of total employment and 0.7 per cent of population aged 15 years and over in the province.
  • The latest report from the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace found that Canada’s aviation industry will need as many as 7,300 more pilots by 2025.

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