On my visit to Humber College today, I stopped in to visit the Electromechanical Engineering Program that my husband has been raving about for several weeks. My curiosity was piqued when I heard Tesla and the companies it contracts are snapping up the graduates. Among the tales is a major company’s disbelief that a new graduate could have the qualifications listed on her resume. A team flew in from the States to see for themselves and was astounded at what they found. This company is now flying students out to California for interviews and job offers. I spoke with Neal Mohammed, head of the program, to find out what is so special about this program that is the only one of its kind in North America.
Neal began building the program 10 years ago after recognizing a weakness in typical co-op programs where students needing extensive hands on experience are rarely given the opportunity to work on real equipment. They may shadow someone in the work place and see equipment in action, but companies don’t have the luxury of allowing beginners to learn by doing. The risks are too great. Neal set about creating a program where students are able to work with the most up-to-date equipment and learn in a collaborative environment that mimics the real world. Check out the video.
Humber students took gold and silver at the recent Skills Competitions.
While I was visiting, the 30 students in the graduating class were gathered in a corner with a recruiter from a furniture company eager to hire. Companies are there weekly competing for graduates but there are only 30 to go around. These companies are desperate to hire; they can’t expand if they don’t have skilled workers. Many of Humber’s other technical programs are also unable to produce enough graduates to fill demand and students are graduating to $60 and $70 000 a year jobs.
As I listened to Neal describe the collaborative skill set needed by these students I thought of the work we do in my grade 6 class in complex problem solving. It felt good to know my students are at the head of the curve, learning what is needed to succeed in modern work environments.