A student from Vancouver Island University will be one of three post-secondary students from Vancouver Island who will serve internships with Boeing International, beginning in the summer of 2014.
Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, will sponsor three students from the Island, with the other two coming from the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, to participate in paid internships at the company's facilities in Washington State after a visit from senior Boeing officials to the Island in June.
The VIU student who will participate has yet to be decided. The initial goal of the visit was to introduce Boeing to the Vancouver Island aerospace community and highlight its capabilities in research, innovation and industry.
Island aerospace consultant Tom McDowell, who has worked with the Canadian Space Agency and European aerospace companies, was instrumental in the development of the internships.
He said the demand for talent in the industry is growing at a fast pace, with the expected demand for new aircraft around the globe to be approximately 30,000 over the next 25 years, totaling about $1 trillion.
"Skills and trades in the aerospace industry will be in high demand, and with Washington just a few hundred kilometres away, students from Vancouver Island are in a prime location to take advantage," McDowell said.
"About 20 years ago, it was more difficult to meet the challenges of bringing aerospace professors to the Island to teach the necessary skills, but we're now in the computer age where students have a lot more information at the fingertips to tap into the required information."
McDowell said he expects the internships next summer will be just the "first offering" that the ongoing collaboration between Boeing and Island universities will deliver.
But he said it will be up to the company to determine what the next steps will be in the new relationship.
"There's phenomenal potential on the Island that Boeing would likely be interested in," McDowell said.
"We're new on the radar for Boeing but we have a lot of talent for the company to access."
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