Growing up as a son of a pilot in Abbotsford, BC, Pierce always loved everything to do with airplanes and airports. As he matured into young adulthood, Pierce dreamed of becoming an air traffic controller, admiring the excitement and focus of the job. He often looked to the skies, hoping to one day talk to air traffic controllers all around the world to learn about the differences in various countries, and how he would be able to work in a control tower while living with a spinal cord injury.
Shine coordinated the perfect experience for Pierce, setting up zoom calls between him and five different air traffic specialists worldwide. Pierce was able to ask questions to the controllers and get their opinions on the benefits and challenges of their different positions. This feedback and insight gave him the details he needed to help him weigh the pros and cons of the role he wishes to pursue for his future career.
In addition to connecting with professionals in the industry, Pierce was gifted a Bose headset and AM/FM radio so he can listen to frequencies and start to learn the language of air traffic controllers. He was also surprised with an airplane graphic hoodie, aviator sunglasses, aeronautical information packages, and signed copies of his favourite book series by Kenneth Oppel.
Since his Shine Experience, Pierce has maintained contact with the air controllers. He has applied to be a controller to NAV Canada and is waiting to hear if he has been accepted. His Mom, Brenda shared that connecting with a diverse group of air traffic controllers inspired Pierce and eased his anxieties to know that this is still a career option for him. He is more motivated to maintain his health and fitness to be in shape for recruitment.
It’s because of Shine Experiences like Pierce’s that young people across Canada can have an opportunity to connect, build skills and confidence, and boost their future outlook. We are excited to see Pierce pursuing his dream career as an air traffic controller and wish him the best.
*** UPDATE ***
It has been a year since Pierce received his Shine Experience and he is more driven than ever to pursue a career in air traffic control. Currently, Pierce is applying for a Marine controller position, and completing all the necessary exams and training to be a competitive candidate. He recently attained his full driver’s license, a necessary step for the job. Pierce and his family have noticed he has more confidence and independence in himself.
Pierce has begun to do things he never would have done before receiving his experience, like getting a volunteer position with the regional airport, all on his own. He is more motivated to get out with his friends and spends more time outside in his community.
Going to the gym has been part of Pierce’s most recent routine. Pierce’s Shine Experience has led him to realize the changes he has seen in himself, and he has seen the drive, passion, and motivation he needs to get his dream position as an air traffic controller.
“I would really like to thank you for everything that you have done. It’s been really awesome knowing that there are people out there that care, it really helps, especially when you’re in those tough times.”
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