Brandon University (BU) and the Brandon Flight Centre (BFC) are working together to ensure that Manitoba-trained pilots shape the future of aviation on the global stage for years to come.
Brandon University is proud to announce it is integrating aviation options into several degree programs. Over the last eight months, Science faculty members including Dr. Dion Wiseman (Geography and Environment), Dr. Todd Fugleberg (Physics and Astronomy) and Dr. Tammy McKenzie (Psychology) conducted an exhaustive review of the ground school and in-flight training delivered at the Brandon Flight Centre. Now, BU students who have completed flight training can receive more than a full year’s worth of credit hours from those departments towards their chosen degree program.
This process was assisted by Jillian Borreson, BFC’s Student Services Coordinator, and Gary McNeely, BU’s Prior Learning and Recognition (PLAR) Co-ordinator.
“During the assessment process, the three departments involved were keen to explore how this flight training could enhance their degree’s skills base” McNeely noted. “We are still exploring more ways flight training could elevate a BU education. It may also have applications in disaster management or in business administration and community economic development opportunities. Language studies may also play a role. Being bilingual in French or conversant in an Indigenous language opens yet more doors for our graduates.”
The interest from various departments is exciting for BFC’s team.
“Careers in aviation can be as unique as the people who fly,” Borreson stresses. “While the airlines are the main destination for many pilots, the industry also provides critical services to rural and northern communities, medical transportation, search and rescue, food production, conservation and more. Degree programs can also pave the way into support positions like airport or airline management, safety and incident investigations, or engineering.”
This recognition could not be coming at a better time. According to Boeing’s Pilot and Technician outlook, by 2041 over 600,000 new pilots will be needed worldwide, with nearly 130,000 required in North America alone. Canada’s robust aviation and aerospace industry makes it a key destination for flight training. More than half of the 1,200 new commercial pilots Canada trains each year are international students and nearly one in three graduates will find careers with overseas carriers.
“This faculty- and student-driven initiative is a great example of the importance of Prior Learning and Recognition in being responsive to our community and acknowledging that education comes in many forms,” said Dr. Kofi Campbell, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at BU. “Our goals as a university include cultivating student success and engagement, and building connections with the community. This project certainly checks those boxes, and I commend the members of our BU faculty and the Brandon Flight Centre for demonstrating how we can work together to create opportunities for our students while addressing the needs of the region and industry.”
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