Cambrian College introduces mechatronics program to address demand of industry
Mechatronics is cross between mechanical engineering and electronics
Cambrian College is introducing new mechatronics program, combining the world of mechanical and electrical engineering and electronic telecommunications.
The new program will equip students to become engineering technicians and technologists who can build, program, operate, and repair machines.
Joanne MacLellan, the dean of the School of Engineering Technology, says the program came about after industry professionals reached out to the school asking for graduates with a specific skill set.
"We had been getting a lot of calls from our industry partners. Our current suite of programs didn't exactly offer it," says MacLellan.
The school conducted a focus group with industry professionals and the field of mechatronics as an emerging field was a topic of interest to professionals.
"It seems to be the direction that most of industry is moving right now."
MacLellan says the mechatronics program will be useful for mining companies looking for workers with a specialized skill set in the automated and digitized function of mechatronics.
"I don't think most people realize how automated everything is in terms of the industry. It is actually very high tech," says MacLellan.
Industries want more people skilled in mechatronics
The big trend in the industry is to be more digitized — even for one piece of equipment, everything is monitored and automated. Since equipment in mining is very integrated, whoever has to repair a piece of the equipment, has to know how it all the pieces work to do so, including the electrical, mechanical, and telecommunications side of it.
"It is all very much interconnected and it's a very exciting field."
MacLellan says a program like this is important for northern Ontario because the supply sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Ontario. Sudbury provides parts and equipment world wide, says MacLellan.
"I see it as something that is going to continue to grow. In order for it to grow, we need to supply them with a workforce that is up to date with the current technologies."
She says a program like this will help industries progress further with the right workers.
"It very much is aligned with serving our community and our community is looking world wide and growing in new technologies.
MacLellan says due to the demand of the field, she expects graduates of the program will get jobs quite fast.
The program begins next September as a two year or three year program for technicians and technologists, respectively.