Simulators, aircraft among upgrades for Thunder Bay aviation program

Federal funding of $1 million announced for Confederation College.

THUNDER BAY — The aviation program at Confederation College is going to get a whole lot more tech-savvy over the next three years.

The Thunder Bay school is using $1 million in federal funding to purchase state-of-the-art multi-engine training simulators and five Cessna 172 trainer aircrafts, along with undertaking lab renovations and site improvements.

It’s part of a greater push to boost enrolment in its suite of aviation-related programs, by more than 70 students annually; in particular, the school wants to raise interest amongst Indigenous and international students.

“Confederation College is incredibly appreciative of the FedNor funding and the significant investment it is making in the ability of the college to meet the demands of an aviation industry that so many communities in Northern Ontario depend upon for the transportation of goods, services and people,”  Kathleen Lynch, president of Confederation College, said in an April 11 news release.

“The funding also enables the college to provide and expand state-of-the-art programming for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to be successful in aviation careers.”

At Confederation’s Aviation Centre of Excellence, which opened in 2003, students can study aviation technician – aircraft maintenance and aviation flight management. The 59,000-square-foot facility comprises two large hangers, classrooms, shops and labs.

Related courses, which are offered out of the school’s TEC Hub,  include aerospace manufacturing engineering technician and aerospace manufacturing engineering technology.

Confederation’s funding, which was announced by FedNor Minister Patty Hajdu, comes through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI), an $11.88-million pot of money available to Northern Ontario until 2024.

The aviation program expansion project is expected to create 10 full-time jobs in the region.

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