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Bolster Recruitment and Retention in Aerospace and Defence in Alberta

Alberta is a diverse province, rich in both high-tech industry and skilled workforce. One industry with a particularly strong foothold in Alberta is the aerospace and defence sector. There are 170 aerospace and aviation companies in the province that contribute $1.3 billion in annual revenue to the economy.

To support this industry, there are 6,000 highly skilled people employed. Alberta is world renowned for its expertise in unmanned vehicle systems, robotics, aviation electronics, space science, and geomatics.

3 Ways to Bolster Recruitment and Retention in Aerospace and Defence

The aerospace and defence sector has to compete with many other highly desirable industries in Alberta, including engineering, manufacturing, energy, construction, and life sciences. Many highly skilled aerospace professionals have been leaving the industry in Alberta for more robust markets in other locations or industries. Recruitment and retention in aerospace and defence is necessary to help minimize re-training costs and ensure that the labour demand is consistently met.

To best support the aerospace and defence industries in Alberta, the following three strategies can be employed with the cooperation of educators, workforce development offices, and local stakeholders.

1. Promote the Heritage of the Aerospace and Defence Industry

Canada’s history in aerospace development and even in space exploration is quite incredible, and yet fairly unknown to the general public. Alberta, specifically, played a key role in the development of this industry. In fact, Edmonton was the first licensed “Air Harbour” in Canada, and during WWII, Alberta hosted the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

There are many aviation museums in Alberta that could be promoted, including the Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary and the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton. Media campaigns showcasing the heritage and pride behind the industry can also be created, focusing solely on social media or online outlets, so as to minimize cost.


 Encouraging feelings of connectedness to the industry’s purpose can greatly aid recruitment and retention in aerospace and defence. When people feel connected to the history, the story, and the driving force behind a company or an industry, they are more likely to feel engaged, included, and proud of their career.

2. Engage Youth in Aerospace and Defence at an Early Age

Workforce development officers, with their access to real-time data on how to develop in Alberta, are uniquely positioned to work with educators and industry. They can provide examples of aerospace and defence technology careers and - as above - the history of the industry, providing educators with examples to use in the classroom.

By exposing youth to the aerospace and defence industry, their career possibilities open up dramatically. Youth may not have been previously aware of the industry’s many exciting career options, such as:

  • an engineer,
  • a mechanic,
  • an electrician,
  • a robotics technician, and
  • a software designer.

3. Partner with Education Providers to Train the Future Workforce

By working with industry stakeholders, and employing tools such as Vicinity Reporting SystemsTM that determine the Canadian labour demand, steps can be taken to fill in the gaps for skilled aerospace and defence workers.

Universities, colleges, and high schools in Alberta can assist workforce development by ensuring that the education provided for high-tech careers in aerospace and defence ismeeting current industry demands. Workforce development officers, armed with data from the Vicinity Reporting Systems tool, partnerships with educational institutions, and a keen finger on the pulse of the local industry, can work to ensure that the future workforce is prepared. Companies and the local economy are not the only beneficiaries. Future graduates - with the required training and knowledge to contribute to the industry’s success - will find employment quickly and begin earning an income right away.

Using Real-Time Data to Inform Labour Demand and Supply

Vicinity Reporting Systems allows you to keep track of how the aerospace and defence sector is performing in the province. You can determine where there is a demand for particular skills, and where that demand can be met in the labour supply.

You can also use this information to strategically plan with secondary and post-secondary education providers to ensure training is meeting current labour demands.

Influence Your Alberta Community’s Workforce Development:

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