Aviation Technician grad comes full circle to launch career

Ashley working on an aircraft

By the time Ashley Rush completed Mohawk College’s Aircraft Maintenance and Aircraft Structures programs, she was something of a regular at KF Aerospace — and a natural fit. Ashely’s journey at Canada’s largest commercial maintenance, repair and operations company, which specializes in engineering, modifications, leasing and air force crew training, started in high school. It then led her to Mohawk and back to KF Aerospace. 

“I took an automotive class in high school, and my teacher recommended I try a co-op placement at KF Aerospace,” says Ashley. “From my experience, I learned I really enjoy working on aircraft. I had also heard great things about the program at Mohawk. Those two things ultimately led to my decision to attend the college.”

Mohawk’s Aviation Technician - Aircraft Maintenance program served as a career launching pad. While Ashley gained industry-respected knowledge, she was also immersed in hands-on learning in Mohawk’s operational living labs. Beyond working with fully operational Boeing 727-200 and several small aircraft types on campus, Aircraft Maintenance students also gain experience at Hamilton International Airport’s aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul facilities.

In 2015, Ashley graduated with a diploma and entered the more specialized Aviation Technician - Aircraft Structures diploma program, which she finished two years later. The offering focuses on damage prevention and structural repair. 

Thoughtful program pathways allow Aviation Technician - Avionics Maintenance or Aviation Technician - Aircraft Maintenance grads to enroll into Semester 2 of the Aviation Technician - Aircraft Structures program. The convenient option is ideal for those who want to further expand their skill set.  

With the high school KF Aerospace co-op under her belt, Ashley enrolled at Mohawk with a goal to work for the company. So, when she got the opportunity to complete a part-time work placement with KF Aerospace, Ashley didn’t hesitate. This time, she used the placement to not only apply her newly acquired skills but also to network. 

“This helped in finding employment, as it gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to many of the people at KF,” she says, before offering advice to aspiring aircraft techs. “If given an opportunity for a work placement in the field, definitely take it. It will allow you to gain experience, meet people, and give you an idea of day-to-day life working in the aviation industry.”

In addition to wanting to work at KF Aerospace, Ashley’s other goals included getting an aircraft maintenance engineer - structures (AME S) licence and the AME M2 licence (to be able to work on a wide range of aircraft). Recently, she achieved her second goal when she earned her AME S licence. At the same time, Ashley’s enjoying her challenging, creative and rewarding career at KF Aerospace.

“The thing I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different,” she says. “There is always a new task or problem to solve and opportunities to learn. I have amazing co-workers willing to teach me. As well, in the structures side of aviation there are so many opportunities to be creative, which I enjoy very much.”