Collège Boréal: supplying Northern Ontario with skilled trades workers

Making the Connection
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Leading-edge technology at Collège Boréal is preparing students for opportunities in a skilled trades workplace.

Since opening its doors to students in 1995, Collège Boréal has continuously adapted and enhanced its curriculum to meet the challenges and growing demands of a 21st Century globalised economy. Along the way, the post-secondary institution has played a significant role in reversing the out-migration of Northern youth while creating meaningful employment opportunities for them here at home.

In Northeastern Ontario, more than 76,000 Francophones work in trades. As a result of an increasing demand for a trained workforce and for skilled workers, Collège Boréal strategically expanded its programming to answer the North’s training needs. That also meant having to develop facilities to adequately serve trades programs both in Sudbury and Timmins. The vision was to provide a versatile learning environment with multi-purpose instructional spaces, leading-edge technology and workshops adaptable to future program needs.

FedNor contributions totalling almost $1 million helped to build the first phase of the School of Trades and Applied Technology (École des métiers et des technologies appliqués (ÉMTA) in Sudbury in 2006, and supported the architectural costs of a new campus in Timmins, which officially opened in 2009.

To meet industry demands, the school has increased the number of trades programs from four in 2005 to well over 30 in 2013. Most of these programs are offered at the main campus in Sudbury while nearly half are available in Timmins.

The expanded list of programs and the institution’s quality facilities are helping to convince a growing number of students to pursue a post-secondary trade education in Northern Ontario. In fact, the number of students enrolled in trades at Collège Boréal has more than doubled, from 336 in 2005 to 693 by 2011, with enrolment predicted to continue increasing over the next few years.

Forging a Career
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Students practice the technique of arc-welding at Collège Boréal’s School of Trades and Applied Technology Centre in Timmins.

Collège Boréal is countering the shortage of skilled trades and answering the needs of industry. “Our organisation routinely hires welding, fabrication and millwright apprentices from Collège Boréal, given the high quality and advanced technology training they receive,” said Robert Brouillette, General Manager at City Welding, a Sudbury-based company.

The college’s enhanced learning facilities are also assisting companies with various applied research projects. Now a member of the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII) and recognized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Collège Boréal was instrumental in helping Symboticware Inc., a technology company located in Sudbury, with documenting and refining the quality assurance procedures of its flagship mining product SymBot. “Symboticware focuses on excellence and innovation, which is why we wanted to associate ourselves with a college sharing these values,” said Kirk Petroski, President & CEO of Symboticware Inc. “At the same time we are being recognised by our partners and counterparts working in the field of mining technology.”

“Thanks to FedNor’s support and the addition of our new programs and facilities, Collège Boréal can continue and even increase its contribution to job creation, growth and prosperity in Northern Ontario,” added Denis Hubert-Dutrisac, President of Collège Boréal.

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