In 2013, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters estimated there would be 1.3 million skilled labour jobs going unfilled in Canada by 2016. The actual situation today may be even worse, even though by 2020, according to the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, it is expected that 7 out of every 10 jobs created in Canada will support the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing the backbone of Canadian economy

After lagging in 2016, the manufacturing industry is rebounding and prospects for 2018 are healthy. However, a recent study by the Canadian Skills Training & Employment Coalition and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters reveals that while 75 percent of manufacturers expect their business to grow over the next three years, 86 percent are finding it challenging to hire the required skilled workers.

“Technology is moving incredibly fast and as a result the need for highly trained workers is significant,” says David Santi,  Dean of Engineering Technology, Mohawk College. “There are a lot of students leaving high school and going into general business programs’ and we need to work harder to guide those students to where the jobs are, into technology programs.”

In order to continue to be competitive globally, the Canadian manufacturing sector must continue moving toward a highly automated environment. While automation improves productivity, reduces downtime, and produces excellent quality products, it requires an ever-growing number of highly educated workers.

“There is less and less manual work on assembly lines,” says George Miltenburg, Associate Dean, Mechanical, Mohawk College. “Factory jobs today range from machine operator to engineer, so capabilities have to be higher.”

Mohawk College is making a difference

Long a preferred choice for students seeking real-world learning experiences and courses customized to their needs, Mohawk College is widely regarded and respected for the breadth and quality of its manufacturing offerings (the college’s Manufacturing Engineering Technician — Automation program has the highest overall student satisfaction of any comparable program in Ontario). Also an ideal college for employers looking to recruit and/or partner, Mohawk is known as a bastion of innovation culture that provides Canada with a steady stream of graduates ready to make a difference.

Now, realizing the urgent need for more highly trained manufacturing workers, Mohawk is in the midst of a number of monumental and potentially revolutionary growth initiatives designed to increase student capacity and learning.

“We’ve added significant capacity for students in all engineering technology programs,” says Miltenburg. “The under-construction Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation gives us capacity for an additional 1,000 students in Engineering Technology courses, while continuing to spend millions of dollars every year on equipment to upgrade our labs.”

“We are focused on bringing our students new labs, new curriculum, and new expertise,” agrees Santi.

“A big part of that is the quality of faculty we have. They are not just instructors, but experts with significant industry and research experience.”

Also of great value to students in Mohawk’s manufacturing programs is the recently announced partnership with FANUC and Progressive Educational Systems. Through the partnership, students in the Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering Technology Advanced Diploma programs, as well as the Automotive and Vehicle Engineering Bachelor’s Degree (BTECH), will receive specialized instruction in Mohawk’s FANUC Robotics Training Laboratory.

“Now more than ever, manufacturers use automation to maximize their productivity,” says Peter Fitzgerald, General Manager, FANUC Canada, Ltd.. “FANUC’s CERT program and partnership with Mohawk College and Progressive Educational Systems provides students access to a STEM-based curriculum centered on robotics and automation training, preparing Mohawk graduates for the high-tech careers in advanced manufacturing in demand today.”

Innovative partnerships, expert instructors, and cutting-edge facilities — just a few of the ways Mohawk College offers prospective students a unique and valuable gateway to specific career success.