MHICA apprentice program kick-starts aerospace careers
Upon graduating high school in 2011, Carter Tracey wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do with his life and ended up working a lot of dead-end jobs.
July 4, 2017 By Mississauga News
That was until he enrolled in an apprenticeship program at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Canada Aerospace (MHICA) in Malton and kick-started his career in the aerospace industry.
“I had zero experience coming into this industry, but as soon as I started training, I felt very confident,” Tracey said during a news conference announcing the City of Mississauga’s partnership with MHICA to actively promote MHICA’s Structural Airplane Apprentice Program.
“It was very hands-on and very informative. After I completed my training, I started working here on the floor and I thought everyone was extremely helpful.”
Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s office has committed to actively raise awareness about the program, which is offering 60 positions for its next intake of applicants in August.
Successful applicants between the ages of 18 and 29 will go through 20 weeks of training, followed by an eight-month apprenticeship.
Applicants don’t need a high school or college diploma or university degree to apply.
Kaszandra Datuin, another young employee who’s gone through a MHICA apprenticeship, recommends it to any young people.
“The reason I emphasize young is because MHICA has put all of their efforts into supporting positive, willing, open-minded, active successors, where not many companies do so,” she said.
MHICA president Mike McCarthy grew up in Malton and recalls many adults employed in the aerospace industry when he was a child.
McDonnell Douglas and Orenda Engines were the two big employers in the area and McCarthy got started in the aerospace industry with McDonnell Douglas.
MHI eventually set up shop in Canada with a factory in Meadowvale that employed 160 workers.
The Malton facility was established in 2013 and 700 employees now work out of three locations in Mississauga, with room to bring in more staff.
“Our team here has done a remarkable job and our growth rate has been unprecedented,” McCarthy said.
“It isn’t very often you hear of major work packages from Asian countries coming to Canada, but that’s what we’ve done here and we’ve been tremendously successful.”
MHICA has had a very high success rate when it comes to applicants successfully completing the apprenticeship program and transitioning into a full-time position.
The Structural Airplane Apprentice Program is supported by the Ontario Manufacturing Learning Consortium and in April, 2016, 21 out of 22 individuals who successfully completed the program were hired full time by MHICA.
Crombie has been a proponent of a number of city-wide measures aimed toward youth employment. Among them are the Mayor’s Youth Speaker Series, Mayor’s Youth Employment Expo and Crombie’s ongoing work with the Healthy City Stewardship Committee.
She calls the MHICA initiative a life-changing opportunity.
“In Mississauga, we mean business when it comes to helping our aerospace companies invest, expand and, of course, remain ahead of the competition,” she said, adding that Mississauga is Canada’s largest aerospace cluster by employment, employing over 24,000 people in 220 aerospace companies.
“Our young people cannot (let) opportunities like this one pass them by. It’s such an important industry.”