Aircraft Maintenance Engineer graduate Andre Leroux

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer graduate Andre Leroux

35 years of launching careers at Okanagan College

Andre Leroux has always been fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together.

Andre Leroux has always been fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together.

His job is one of the most detail oriented imaginable. It is among the most in-demand occupations in the trades and technical world today. It’s also one of the many careers people can learn about when they visit one of the region’s longest-running career fairs next month.

“I get to work on some of the world’s most incredible aircraft, doing everything from routine checks to big conversions that would have blown my mind as a kid. It’s amazing.”

Read more: Half million investment into Okanagan College Penticton campus

A few short years ago Penticton-born Leroux was honing his skills in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) Structures program at Okanagan College. Through the window of the College’s AME-S lab at the Kelowna airport, Leroux had a view to a hangar filled with multi-million-dollar aircraft he hoped to work on one day. That day came sooner than he ever expected.

The hangar through the window belongs to KF Aerospace, Kelowna’s largest private-sector employer. Leroux interviewed with the company shortly before graduation. Days later, certificate in hand, he joined KF Aerospace’s team of skilled AME-S technicians.

“I learned the theory and the hands-on skills of the trade, and then I stepped right into it and I’ve kept learning ever since. It’s a fast-paced job and there’s always a new skill to pick up along the way.”

Leroux has wasted no time putting his skills to work.

In August he participated in a Top Gun-style AME skills challenge in downtown Kelowna. Competitors completed three skill testing events from metal bending to riveting, all while racing against each other and the clock. Leroux placed third overall, outperforming technicians who boasted many more years in the industry.

His story is a testament to how quickly a new career can hit the stratosphere when passion, education and opportunity collide.

Globally, Boeing predicts an industry demand for 609,000 aircraft maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it the most in-demand occupation in the aviation industry. And locally the demand remains steady. In the last four years, KF Aerospace has hired more than 30 of Okanagan College’s AME-S graduates (including the entire 2014 class), representing more than a quarter of the company’s AME-S technician labour force.

Those interested in learning more about the AME-S program at Okanagan College can view a video here and attend an info night on Nov. 9, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at 5650 Aerospace Dr. at the Kelowna Airport. Participants can meet instructors and tour KF Aerospace.

KF Aerospace is just one of more than 35 exhibitors who will be at the 35th annual Career Fair hosted by Okanagan College on Sunday, Nov. 6., connecting with the community, and in many cases, looking to add to their workforce.

Career Fair also provides would-be students a closer look at Okanagan College and its programs – from aviation to welding, business to nursing, and everything in between. Tours of the newly renovated and expanded Trades Complex – one of the most sustainable buildings of its kind anywhere in the world – will be offered throughout the event which runs from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus.

Anyone interested in finding out about career opportunities or learning more about the education and training needed to achieve lift off in a new career should visit the campus.

New for 2016: the Freshman 15 is a special information session that will cover the top 15 points that parents and students should know before starting post-secondary. The free session begins at 1 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (S building) and will include time for questions and answers afterward.

Anyone interested in applying for a program at Okanagan College can start the process while at Career Fair and will have the application fee waived. The College will also draw for a $500 tuition waiver for those who enter at the event.

Find out more online: www.okanagan.bc.ca/careerfair.

 

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read