We asked a local pilot how she achieved her lifelong dream of flying

Mar 22 2022, 5:00 pm

Amidst all the changes the pandemic has posed, from the shift to remote working to the gaps created in the job market, a lot of us have been reassessing what we want out of our careers. And for some, this uncertain time has provided the push needed to follow a lifelong dream.

Kajal Barge, a pilot with her Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), knew she was interested in flying since her childhood. But it was when one of her instructors at flight school in India suggested Insignia College that her career left the runway.

Insignia College is a rapidly growing academic institution in Delta, BC that offers government-funded programs and aviation courses where students can get their CPLs in six months. The private college also offers a Pathway Program with Yorkville University and recently opened a second campus location in Surrey.

Barge’s interest in becoming a pilot started in India one day when she was 10 years old. She went on a family trip that involved a flight, and it all changed. “After landing, I requested the staff to allow me to see the cockpit and talk with the pilot. I was thrilled that they allowed me to do so,” Barge tells Daily Hive. “The discussion I had with the pilot on that day changed the trajectory of my life forever.”

Years later, during her initial flying and theory course in India, one of her instructors informed her of the many perks of finishing her training in Canada, specifically at Insignia College. A reputation spanning continents along with Barge’s research had her choose the program that eventually led her to receive her CPL.

Barge says the program prepared her for her career through a hands-on approach, where students would do both ground school and theory work. “The instructors helped prepare us by doing many practise exams, and after the exams, the instructor would sit with me and explain where I went wrong,” says Barge. “The instructors here are very helpful and they always keep track of students’ progress. That speeds up our program completion and [helps us] meet all required time limits.”

A private institution founded in 2006 in Victoria, BC, Insignia College moved to the mainland in 2018 under a new owner and management team. As a Private Training Institution Branch (PTIB) designated institution, a Transport Canada approved flight training unit, and an Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designated institution, Insignia College is a reputable and well-known organization for aviation and academic advancement.

As pilots themselves, the two new owners of Insignia College, Sahaj Sandhu and Harpreet Brar, can apply their hands-on experience to the school’s teaching objectives. Barge saw these benefits in her training at the school, especially when she finally left the ground. “Once an instructor feels that the trainee is confident in the theoretical part, then the student starts flying. That was the highlight of the program — when I started flying solo.”

According to Barge, instructors take a hands-on approach in helping students become confident pilots.

“The facilities available at Insignia College are remarkable, as well as the staff,” she says. “Everyone goes out of their way to assist.”

On top of its renowned aviation courses, Insignia College has completed two government-funded programs — a Veterinary Assistant Diploma and a Hospitality Operations Certificate, with graduate students currently working in both industries. The school also plans to run more programs in the future.

The college prioritizes having a roster of professionally educated instructors and promises high-quality technical training — it’s an added bonus that the school also has affordable course costs, flexible schedules, and individualized academic plans for its students.

These were the ingredients that led Barge to a successful career, one that she plans to continue to build on. “The process here made me confident in my career. The additional flying hours and perseverance towards upgrading [my] skill sets will help me to join my dream airline, Airbus 320.”

From the comprehensive syllabus to the disciplined training environment, her education at Insignia College allowed Barge to achieve her long-time dream of soaring through the sky.

“Everything pertaining to flying brings joy and satisfaction to me. However, there is no match to the most critical exercise of landing,” she says. “It demands full attention and a clear presence of mind. Over a period of time, I found that I’m good at that. These are all things about flying I cherish.”

To learn more about aviation or other programs at Insignia College, visit their website.

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