In 2006, Winnipeg-based StandardAero established its gas turbine repair and overhaul program to address a disconnect between the technical training most airframe and powerplant students receive and the demands of today’s MRO providers. “We saw that the majority of students who receive powerplant instruction were being trained on legacy platforms,” says John Leroux, StandardAero’s director of technical training and the person responsible for maintenance for Canadian operations. “They did not have training on the products that MRO companies are either working on today, or want to begin servicing,” he explains.
Leroux says a major reason for this is that many schools do not have the required tooling and access to the intellectual property needed to service state-of-the-art powerplants. “The two, together, are nearly impossible for most schools to bring in-house,” he says. “So what StandardAero did was to set up a program in which students and instructors would get access to the tooling and intellectual property, which we have access to from the OEMs,” he notes.
The gas turbine repair and overhaul program, administered in concert with Red River College—also in Winnipeg—focuses on developing the skill sets needed to service all the engines StandardAero maintains, including the CFM56, GE CF34, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-A and PW100 and Rolls-Royce M250 and RR300 helicopter engines.
During the program, which runs for 5-6 months, the college instructors work with the StandardAero trainers and students on-site. “Not only are the students getting paid while going through the program, they are also learning the current technology on the tools and fixtures they will be working with,” Leroux says. “Working in this environment gives this program a value-added aspect.”
Over the past 11 years, Leroux adds, about 340 people have completed the program, and nearly all have been hired by StandardAero. “In fact, if they successfully complete the course, they are guaranteed employment with StandardAero,” he says. “A very large percentage of our [current] technical workforce has gone through the program.”