Seneca aviation program eyed for city airport

Seneca aviation program eyed for city airport

Updated 8 hours ago

A group that works to champion local post-secondary education has submitted a proposal to Seneca College to relocate its School of Aviation and Flight Technology from Buttonville Airport to the Brantford airport.

The Grand Valley Educational Society has formed an special committee to lobby Seneca to move its aviation program to the city when the Toronto-area airport closes.
It was announced last year that Buttonville Airport, which has served small aircraft for 50 years on a 73-hectare piece of land near the Markham-Toronto border, will be closed within five years to make way for a massive real-estate development.
“The Brantford airport would meet the needs of the college,” educational society president Colleen Miller said following the group’s annual general meeting Monday.

Buttonville is the home of Seneca’s fleet of aircraft and flight training devices, used for training by students enrolled in the bachelor of applied technology – flight program. All in-flight training is done through the facilities at Buttonville. Classroom-based instruction is divided between Seneca’s Markham and Buttonville campuses.
It is the only college in the country to offer an integrated bachelor of applied technology-flight degree program.
Educational society board member Bob Ogilvie said that a consultant is working with the college, which has 10 campuses located throughout the GTA, to find the aviation program a new home.

“We have submitted our proposal and the college has handed it over to the consultant,” said Ogilvie. “I think we have a strong case.”
Miller said that the Brantford airport is within reasonable driving distance of the college and has no high towers, which could impede student training.
“The flight training program is not in conflict with programs currently offered by the college or universities in Brantford-Brant, and will complement and mirror our goal to establishing Brantford-Brant as a centre of educational excellence,” said a report discussed at Monday’s meeting.
The educational society also outlined several other current projects, including the establishment a bus service connecting Brantford and Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo.

Miller said that the bus system would be used “to support our existing student population and increase accessibility to Brantford-Brant.” She said the buses also could be used by non-students.
“We’ve done surveys. We know there are students interested and people would use the service. We know there’s a need for it.”
The society is looking for $250,000 to operate the buses through a private shuttle service as a one-year pilot project.
Riders would pay a fee to ride the buses and post-secondary students could be given subsidized passes.

Miller said that application has been made to both the federal and provincial governments for funding.

The educational society, the group behind he establishment of Laurier Brantford in 1999, is also conducting a research project, with funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, to determine how post secondary education can support local employers.
“We can’t develop programs if we don’t know what the community needs,” said educational society board member Betty Anne Jackson.
Part of that research involves the questioning employers’ needs through an online survey.

The research will identify the training and education required to support existing business and industry, determine what training and education will attract future business and industry, and what gap exists between the training and education required and what is available.
Miller said the educational society also will draw on research being done by other local organizations, including the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, to get a jump on future employment.
“We can work with the city to determine what sectors or companies it is trying to bring in and have people already trained in those fields. We want to be able to tell (prospective business and industry) that we not only have the land but we have an educated and trained workforce.”

Copyright © 2011 Brantford Expositor

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