The Air Cadet League of Canada, British Columbia Provincial Committee (BCPC) in partnership with the Aerospace Industry is offering a High School Work Experience Program ( HSWE) to selected senior students that will provide them with the opportunity to gain 40 hours of voluntary work experience in either an Aerospace technical maintenance facility or Airport operations environment. This work experience also fulfills the 30 hours of work experience and community service required for high school graduation. Within the Ministerial guidelines for the work experience program, students are responsible for finding their volunteer job placement. The education system does not resource either the student’s job search or a commnications plan to make industry aware of the HSWE program. Consequently, since the program recognizes community service as a legitimate form of employment, the vast majority of students are normally guided in this direction to fulfill their requirement.
To fill the void between the student and industry the Air Cadet League of Canada BC Provincial Committee (BCPC) and its aerospace industry partners, provide opportunities for Air Cadets to complete their work requirement through work experience programs in the Aerospace Industry. These HSWE programs are relevant to the Air Cadet training advanced training syllabus as they provide the opportunity for Cadets to work in either an aircraft maintenance and overhaul facility or an airport operations environment. Thereby, they provide Cadets with the opportunity to apply their training in Aircraft Maintenance and Airport Operations to a real work situation.
It is important to note that the HSWE program is NOT an Air Cadet activity under the control and supervision of the Canadian Forces. It is an educational program of the Provincial School System.
Normally, the BCPC and the respective aerospace company or airport are jointly responsible for coordinating a program schedule and providing the necessary resources to support the program. The Squadron Commanding Officer and Squadron Sponsoring Committee are responsible for promoting the program to the cadets and initially screening the applicants. The cadet completes the application package and follows the HSWE program application procedure at their respective high school for a work experience placement. The cadet/student attends the work site as a student under the auspices of the Provincial School System.
A typical program consists of either one or two separate one week employment periods with the opportunity to employ a max of three students each period. Successful students work, without pay, for normally 40 hours over a 5 day work week. Students are expected to attend an orientation tour and briefing provided by the Host Company and work under the direct supervision of a mentor. They must provide their own pair of approved work safety boots and transportation to and from the work site.
Since the inaugural Air Cadet Work Experience Program at Aveos in the spring of 2011, the program has been expanded into Regional Airports around the province. To date successful HSWE programs have been sponsored by the Regional Glider Schools Maintenance Hangar at CFB Comox, Conair in Abbotsford and Kelowna Flightcraft along with Langley, Pitt Meadows and Kamloops Regional Airports. The HSWE program has been well received by all stakeholders particularly, the parents and educators. It is proving to be a relatively ‘easy sell’ to our aerospace industry partners and is helping to garner more support for Air Cadets from within the education community in the Lower Mainland.
The continued expansion of this type of initiative supports the recently announced Renewal of the Cadet and Junior Rangers Program by broadening the spectrum of community based aviation-aerospace related opportunities for Air Cadets and dramatically increasing the ‘value added’ effect that educational credits bring to the Air Cadet Movement.
The successful development and introduction of these opportunities into the Air Cadet Movement is a testament to the synergistic effect that can be accomplished when like minded people from different organizations come together and contribute to a common goal ‘to make a tangible investment in the future of Air Cadets’.