Ontario Aerospace Council continues successful COAST training program after pilot year

The Ontario Aerospace Council has announced results from the pilot year for its Competencies Online Advancement Skills & Training (COAST) program, as well as plans for year two. Developed in response to COVID-19 to engage, retain and upskill aerospace industry employees, as well as facilitate post-pandemic recovery, COAST is funded in part by the Province of Ontario through its Skills Catalyst Fund under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. For the pilot year that concluded in March 2021, OAC reported that 173 trainees representing 11 aerospace companies throughout all levels of the supply chain occupied 310 seats in eight courses selected by industry.

Three “Business of Aerospace” customized courses were titled “Diversity and Bias: Awareness and Action for Aerospace Leaders,” “Ontario Aerospace – Our Heritage, Our Sector and Future Proofing Your Career,” and “Blue Skies Ahead – Challenges and Opportunities for Ontario Aerospace.” These were complemented by diverse industry panel discussions that facilitated connections across companies. Five broader offerings addressed personal/business and relational competencies: “Focus & Achievement,” Critical Thinking & Problem Solving,” “Conflict Management,” “Change Management,” and “Team Building.”

COAST is based on a self-improvement mindset called Beta-You. Trainees were presented with the notion that they should adopt a more dedicated approach to learning, one that recognizes the competitive and workplace changes in aerospace that necessitate intentional and continuous learning. These programs focus on social, cognitive and digital competencies required for employee success in this sector. In addition to specific programming, Beta-You functionality will be developed to support OAC members and their employees to manage, track and receive industry-wide recognition through certification for their developmental achievements.

In year two of COAST, the OAC will expand on the eight courses above with five “Non-technical Plus” soft-skills programs: “Innovation,” “Collaboration,” “Critical and Analytical Thinking,” “21st Century Management” and “Resilience @ Work.” It will also offer a business and professional writing class called “It’s Not What You Say, it’s How You Say It,” plus train-the-trainer sessions, a mentorship program and workforce communities to promote best practices. Funded in March 2021 through the Skills Development Fund under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, this second year of COAST runs from June 2021 through March 2022.

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