Boeing Canada is investing $17 million in the Saskatchewan Aviation Learning Centre (SALC) at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT).

Pierre Ruel, interim managing director of Boeing Canada, says they recognize the urgent need to address the labour shortages impacting the industry. Ruel says SIIT is expected to double the number of men and women who are entering the course so they need more real estate, and the money will allow them to expand while also upgrading equipment.

He describes the men and women getting their education through the SALC as being, upon graduation, key players in Canada’s aerospace system. “The result of that investment is that it’s going to give them the capacity to double their intake in a few years so that’s very significant,” explained Ruel.

He says right now they graduate between 10 and 20 people in the program and suggests those students, upon graduation, will have developed a skill set that is very much in demand with Boeing’s projection that the number of commercial airplanes will have doubled by 2042.

The $17 million is being invested in the Saskatchewan Aviation Learning Centre in Saskatoon and its aircraft maintenance engineering program. The investment comes in the wake of the Government of Canada purchasing a defense platform, selecting the P-8A Poseidon to replace planes in the Royal Canadian Airforce. The P-8 is based on a commercial platform which is Boeing’s 737 NG. The aircraft takes over from older generation aircraft which were deployed in surveillance such as anti-shipping and anti-submarine, but this plane is not just for the sea, but also for over land.

After touring the existing SALC Tuesday Ruel said, “I think the bottom line is, to me, this is an event of pure joy. I’m so happy to be here, representing Boeing in Saskatoon. And again, I go back to the experience I had yesterday on the tour. Oh my god, these young men and women are pumped, they’re happy to be part of the industry, it couldn’t be better.”