Sunday, July 14, 2024

Soaring to new heights

By Minal Abhange

The aviation industry has brought Melissa Barton to new heights.

Growing up in Gander, a community known for its international airport and military connection, Melissa knew her career path would involve airplanes.

A graduate of CNA’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technician (AMET) program, and now as a program instructor, Melissa simply loves the idea of working in an industry that defies gravity and allows her to literally put the wind beneath her wings.

Choosing a career

Pursuing the AMET program at CNA allowed Melissa to take one step closer to her dream career.

“After graduating in 2010, I started working with Provincial Airlines and next with Cougar Helicopters Inc., and spent six years of my career in St. John’s,” she says, adding that she holds an Avionics Technician ‘E’ license (a license which allows aircraft technicians to manage and maintain anything electrical in the aircraft – the wiring of the aircraft, generators, and the power supply).

Looking back at her first days and fast-forwarding to where she is now, she realizes how far she has come.

“The program at CNA was a great fit for me, as it is a combination of theory and practical laboratory sessions,” Melissa says, noting that training in the laboratories was her favourite activity. “This gave students an amazing opportunity to practice everything you learn.”

Sharing the experience

An Aviation Technician’s job is very demanding, yet full of adventure with an immense potential for growth.  

“Aircraft safety is the most important aspect of the aviation industry. As a professional, you will be responsible for ensuring safety is a priority, which means you will be a valued and vital part of the maintenance team.”

 Returning to CNA as an instructor has been an amazing feeling.

“I never imagined I would be fortunate to work with the instructors who have been instrumental in my success,” Melissa says. “I started as the Instructional Assistant, helping students in the labs before transitioning into an Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technician instructor. I am very excited to share the knowledge I gained in the field with my students.

 “I love my job at CNA. Life has come a full circle for the best, in many ways, and adds the perfect balance to my life – giving me the freedom to spend quality time with my family, while being able to pass along my knowledge and experience on aircrafts to students.”

 Her broad range of experiences, starting in the classroom through her time in the aviation industry and now back in the classroom, has provided Melissa with some keen insights for her students to keep in mind.

“Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Don’t be afraid to explore the aviation industry has a lot of career paths. There is a high demand of trained Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technicians, and it will continue to exist in the foreseeable future.”

To find out more about the aviation programs visit

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Glenda Tompkins
Glenda Tompkins
Glenda is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran currently specializing in photography/videography and social media management. She has garnered multiple awards for her innovative, strategic campaigns at CNA. Her experience includes writing, editing, graphic design, event planning, and more. When she’s not reviewing social media engagement analytics, she enjoys spending quality time with her young family.


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