Confederation College alumnus Michael Ozga is the first to turn a Destination Porter experience into a full-time job.
Ozga recently was hired as a First Officer by Porter Airlines and though new to the airline, Ozga's association with Porter began years before thanks to an innovative program called Destination Porter.
A unique opportunity available to graduates of the Aviation-Flight Management program at Confederation College, successful applicants are paired with a Porter pilot mentor to ensure a successful start to their aviation career.
A long-time employer of Confederation graduates from a variety of programs, including aviation, tourism-travel and eco-adventure, business and more, this is the first time Porter Airlines has hired a candidate from the Destination Porter program.
Ozga feels his mentor gave him guidance and advice that helped him advance in his career.
“There are a lot of opportunities in aviation and many paths you can follow,” he noted.
"My mentor helped guide me and gave me the advantages and disadvantages of each route I might take to achieve my goals.
“I felt supported because Porter kept in touch with me and wanted to know how my career was going,” Ozga added.
After graduating, Ozga taught at Confederation College, then accepted a First Officer job in Sioux Lookout.
He advanced to the position of Captain, gained more than 1,000 flying hours, and then began training other pilots.
When Porter contacted him to check on the progress of his career and learned about his wealth of experience, they encouraged him to apply with the airline.
“Porter pilots are investing their time as mentors to help the next generation navigate their own career paths,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines.
“Becoming a pilot takes determination, hard work, and personal commitment,” he added.
“It is a labour of passion, which I can personally attest to as a pilot myself.”
Porter Airlines recognizes that growth in the aviation sector has led to a great demand for pilots across Canada.
The airline believes this mentorship program will help the next generation of pilots make the most of their opportunities and achieve the greatest possible success in their careers.
Debbie Miller, chair of the School of Aviation at Confederation College, acknowledged the value of the partnership with Porter.
“At Confederation College, we prepare our graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers, and the Destination Porter program helps to take that to the next level by supporting them with their entry into the workforce,” she remarked.
“We are proud to see alumni like Michael, achieving their dreams and reaching new heights in their careers.”
Since the Destination Porter partnership was established in 2017, 14 Confederation College graduates have been accepted into the program.
Confederation continues to grow its partnership with Porter to help provide a range of meaningful learning opportunities for students in its aviation programs, and to establish additional pathways to careers in the industry.
To learn more about Confederation College's Aviation-Flight Management program and to apply, visit www.confederationcollege.ca/flight-mgmt