Dawn Patterson - title

Dawn - mugshot

"I did a job shadow and was really interested in the aircraft industry. They remembered me two years later when I came back with my resume."


Apprentices start at about $25,000.00 to $33,000.00 per year.

After they become licensed, their wage doubles.nc


Dawn - action shot

For Dawn Patterson, the best part about being an Aircraft Structures Mechanic for Air BC is the hands-on work. She looks for corrosion on the planes, does inspections, removes damaged parts and does sheet metal repairs. A lot of her job involves fabricating of parts and riveting. There are many tools required and a variety of aircraft to work on.

Dawn - action shot

Prior to this career, Dawn worked in bars as a server, bartender, and restaurant manager. She did a job shadow as part of a technical school course and found a hidden interest in mechanical work. After completing a 2 year technical school program, she was hired into her current position at Air BC.

Did you know? Aviation has come a long way in a hundred years. The fuselage of a Boeing 747 is twice as long as the Wright brothers' first flight!

A beginner apprentice earns $12-$16/hour. Once licensed, this increases to $25-$30/hour. The benefit to having a license - in addition to higher pay - is that a mechanic can basically work anywhere in the world. One of Dawn's co-workers spends four months working on helicopters internationally in the oil industry.

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After spending years as a bartender and server, Dawn Patterson decided it was time to trade in the tip jar for something completely different. A job shadowing experience revealed a hidden interest in mechanical work.

Now, instead of mixing cocktails, Dawn fixes aircraft and their structures. It's a job she credits for giving her freedom, a good salary and overall, a much better life…


Education: Women in Trades course at BCIT

Hobbies: Skiing, snowboarding, volleyball, and reading

Member of: CAMC (Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council)

eir wage doubles.