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Canada invests in pilot training at First Nations Technical Institute


September 9, 2019
By Wings Staff


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Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, on September 6 announced a Government of Canada investment of up to $4.9 million over three years for the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI). The investment is being made through FedDev Ontario, which is under the umbrella of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

FNTI is an Indigenous-owned post-secondary institute offering educational opportunities for Indigenous peoples. The First Peoples’ Aviation Technology program at FNTI is the only Indigenous aviation post-secondary program of its kind in Canada.

With this investment, FNTI plans to strengthen its aviation training program by doubling the number of Indigenous students training to become commercial pilots. The Government of Canada investment will support Indigenous students through the purchase of five new training aircraft; hiring additional aircraft maintenance engineers, flight instructors, dispatch staff, academic faculty and student support facilitators; and acquiring safety maintenance software.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support the First Nations Technical Institute in increasing its capacity while helping to break down some of the barriers currently facing Indigenous peoples in pursuing careers in aviation,” said Garneau. “This is an excellent time to help enable more candidates to enter this high demand field.”

Bains also described the importance of expanding this vital training program: “With new and more specialized capabilities… This will not only bring benefits to communities right across the country, it will also help create good quality jobs for many years to come.?

The Government of Canada states it is working with industry partners and stakeholders to explore how skill development programs can be enhanced for the transportation sector, particularly in aviation, and to develop strategies to increase participation of underrepresented groups including Indigenous peoples and women.

The FNTI project also aligns with the Government of Canada’s Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada, by helping the FNTI improve programming that will benefit rural communities while increasing access to jobs, training and educational opportunities for Indigenous peoples.

“Through this support, FNTI will be able to create more educational opportunities for Indigenous learners, reduce our waiting list, and ensure pathways for Indigenous graduates into the aviation industry,” said Suzanne Brant, president, First Nations Technical Institute. “More students and more graduates will assist with creating sustainability in remote communities across Canada and help increase role models for the next generation of Indigenous pilots in the aviation industry.”