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Coulson Aviation earns landmark Transport Canada ATO approval

January 25, 2024

Coulson Aviation, renowned for its expertise in aerial firefighting, has recently been granted Approved Training Organization (ATO) status by Transport Canada.

This achievement marks Coulson Aviation as the first Canadian aviation company to receive such approval, significantly bolstering its role in the aviation industry.

A new era in aviation training

Coulson Aviation’s new ATO status allows the company to offer training in aircraft structures, distinguishing it as one of only twenty ATOs across Canada.

Unique to Coulson’s program is the absence of tuition fees for students.

Instead, trainees are compensated while learning, remaining on the company’s payroll.

This model not only facilitates access to education but also aligns with Coulson’s strategy of hiring individuals passionate about aviation.

The company ensures a full-time position for every student who successfully completes the training, providing a seamless transition from apprenticeship to a full Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – Structures (AME-S) license.

Coulson Aviation President and COO on the landmark approval

Britton Coulson, President and COO of Coulson Aviation, expressed his enthusiasm for the approval: “This approval is a huge milestone and tremendously valuable to Coulson, allowing us to hire, train, and educate hand-selected team members.

“By going through their schooling and apprenticeship here at Coulson, working alongside licensed team members on actual aircraft and projects, they become much more well-rounded technicians.

“As Coulson continues to grow, we see this re-investment in future technicians as a path to sustainably maintain a well-trained and dedicated workforce.”

He further highlighted the uniqueness of Coulson’s approach compared to typical ATO schools: “Typical ATO schools require students to pay to attend training. We pay our students to attend our school, just like any other employee.

“In return, we expect an ultra-high standard of attendance, performance, and attitude. That is why they are all hand-picked to join this elite program.”

Expanding opportunities for graduates

The AME-S course offered by Coulson covers a range of skills, including working with sheet metal, composite, wood, and fabric structures.

Graduates have the opportunity to extend their credentials into the FAA by taking a written exam, further broadening their career prospects.

FSJA Comment

The approval of Coulson Aviation as an Approved Training Organization by Transport Canada marks a significant step forward in the aviation industry’s approach to education and workforce development.

Coulson’s innovative model of offering paid training without tuition fees represents a shift in how technical education and apprenticeship programs are structured.

This approach aligns student success with the company’s growth and workforce needs.

The guarantee of full-time employment upon completion of the program ensures a direct path for students to professional careers, fostering a skilled and committed workforce.

Coulson Aviation’s strategy reflects a broader trend in the industry towards more inclusive and practical educational frameworks, which may inspire similar initiatives across other sectors.

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