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Bombardier beefs up internship program to focus on aerospace jobs


Bombardier is ramping up its internship program in a bid to restock its pipeline of future employees while helping the aerospace industry tackle an ever-growing labour shortage.

Canada’s biggest aerospace company said Thursday it plans to hire more than 1,000 students for paid internship positions in Canada during the 2019-2020 academic year — a new annual record for the Montreal-based manufacturer. Bombardier expects to invest $17 million to fund the program, with most of the amount covering salaries for interns.

University and post-secondary students in engineering, science, finance and law will be offered assignments ranging in time from four months to as many as 16, said Marco Beaulieu, head of university collaboration at Bombardier. About 750 of the positions will be in the Montreal area, he said in an interview. Bombardier expects to recruit interns from 23 Canadian colleges and universities, up from eight in 2016. The new site will be dedicated to the application process.

“We have recruited interns for a number of years, but this is our most structured effort yet,” Beaulieu said after a press conference inside a Bombardier facility in Dorval. “We want their experience to resemble the day-to-day reality of the industry as much as possible.”

About 60 per cent of the internships will be in engineering, with the remainder in management functions such as human resources, market research and finance. Most of the intern positions will be within Bombardier’s aerospace operations, with the rest in train-making. Each recruit will be paired with a professional mentor and receive access to networking sessions.

As demand for air travel continues to grow worldwide, Bombardier is one of dozens of Quebec and Canadian aerospace companies looking for skilled workers ahead of an expected wave of worker retirements. About 37,000 aerospace manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in Quebec over the next decade, according to a forecast by Aéro Montréal, a lobby group for the industry.

“Rarity of labour is a serious problem for our industry, so this program is great news,” Suzanne Benoit, head of Aéro Montréal, said in an interview at the event. “All those students are probably not going to be hired by Bombardier in the end, but the industry experience that they pick up during their internship will make them very attractive prospects for many employers.”

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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