WestJet gives Big Brothers Big Sisters youth a bird’s eye view of careers that soar

You could say we’re taking them under our wing.

Across the WestJet world we opened our doors today to youth from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) for #MentoringMatters Day. At our Calgary headquarters, three lucky young people – C.J., Lucas and Shea – were invited to take part in an exclusive WestJet journey that few guests will ever get to experience.

The first stop on their behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to run an airline was in our Operations Control Centre (OCC). The OCC is where we manage and track all of our WestJet and WestJet Encore aircraft, including the ongoing coordination of the daily flight schedule and contingency plans; the safe and efficient operational control of WestJet flights with the pilot in command; and the planning and execution of WestJet’s weight and balance program.

The three students were each paired up with dispatchers who showed them the technology we use to we track in real-time where all of our planes are in WestJet’s world. From computer screens in Calgary the group got to watch our planes take off from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. This was no video game. It was better and they were pretty wowed.

DeeAnn from WestJet Encore, showed 13-year-old Shea just how busy the WestJet Encore fleet can be. “I wish I had the opportunity to see and learn about this stuff when I was her age,” DeeAnn said later.

From the OCC, we got to watch as Shea, C.J. and Lucas put what they learned into action as they flew a WestJet 737 over downtown Vancouver. Well, in a flight simulator, that is. The smiles on their faces couldn’t be beaming any brighter than after “flying.”

“Amazing!” Lucas said.

Shea and C.J. agreed. The simulator was not only great, but their favourite part of the day so far. And, they’re only at lunchtime.

Standby as there is more to come. Or you are welcome to follow along on their adventures by using the #MentoringMatters hashtag.
WestJet, Big Brothers Big Sisters, flight simulator

The afternoon with the youth really took off with more tours and job shadowing.
Some students spent time with teams in Marketing and wrote, built and recorded ads, as well as helped out on a photoshoot. Others explored other areas of WestJet such as Communications and Public Relations, Creative Services, Talent and Recruitment, WestJet Vacations, Tech Ops, Network Planning, and more.

One Little Sister, 18-year-old Sarah, had a chance to interview three members of our executive team. Sarah asked some tough questions during her one-on-one with our President and CEO, Gregg Saretsky for our internal video series Five Minutes with Gregg. Her impression of Mr. Saretsky? “He’s such a friendly guy. He’s very outgoing and not like the stereotypical type of CEO who may be more to the point and rushed,” Sarah said.

She also did a Facebook Live interview with Executive Vice President Commerical, Bob Cummings, as well as met with CFO Harry Taylor. Sarah noted how welcoming and open they were, too.

“Everyone I met here loves their job,” she said later. “Which is such an amazing thing to hear, because you don’t often hear that from many others in the business world.”

That’s exactly how we feel, too. #MentoringMatters