Two people look at an electronic device while adjusting a wire.

Humber College is offering a free, 16-week program for those looking to launch or grow their Advanced Manufacturing career.

Connecting to Careers in Advanced Manufacturing is an upskilling program offered in collaboration with ACCES Employment. It’s funded by Upskill Canada and the Government of Canada and is designed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge needed in the rapidly changing landscape of advanced manufacturing.  

The initiative aims to empower students who are coming out of high school and mid-career professionals to enter or progress within the Advanced Manufacturing sector, which helps address the industry's pressing demand for skilled technicians.  

Dave Smiderle is the associate dean, Continuous Professional Learning with the Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology. Smiderle said Canada has experienced tremendous growth in the Advanced Manufacturing sector over the last few years and that training hasn’t kept pace with it.

“There’s a real need right now for folks to be trained in this area,” said Smiderle.

He explained Advanced Manufacturing as taking existing manufacturing processes and using machinery or technology to automate those processes to achieve operational efficiencies. According to Smiderle, previously, factories would have people manually working on an assembly line, but those in charge have come to the realization that it’s inefficient and not particularly good for the worker.

“Training workers so they can continue to be employed in the sector is beneficial for the workers and their careers as well as the employers,” added Smiderle.

Offering the program at no cost helps eliminate barriers to upskilling, said Smiderle. It’s also allowing equity-seeking groups to continue their education and grow their careers. He said, as an example, the first cohort in January had asylum seekers and refugees enrolled.

“The intention is to bring those most at risk and farthest removed from the labour market to the fore and into sustainable and viable employment,” said Sue Sadler, senior vice-president of Services and Program Innovation with ACCES Employment. “One of the best ways to do that is to remove all of the barriers right up front, and tuition is very often one of the most significant barriers.”

The program also hopes to increase the numbers of another underrepresented group in the sector – women.

Learners will earn a certificate in Advanced Manufacturing upon successful completion of the five designated micro-credentials. They include Lean Manufacturing, Mechatronic Control Systems, Program Logic Controllers, Electric Motors, Actuators and Drives, and Electric Pneumatics and Hydraulics — skills that are directly applicable in current high-tech manufacturing settings.  

The program features asynchronous online classes that are complemented by on-site labs at Humber along with experiential learning through employer-led simulated and real workplace experiences.

Those who enrol will also have access to customized employment services covering personal branding, networking, interviewing, and social media profiling through pre-scheduled online workshops. Also available is customized workplace communications coaching focusing on teamwork, collaboration, conflict resolution, feedback delivery, change management, and industry compliance.

There are four intakes with the first having taken place in January. Additional intakes are May, July, and November.

Discover more information about this program by visiting ACCES Employment and the Connecting to Careers in Advanced Manufacturing webpage.