There is a lot happening at Canada’s polytechnics. Our blog offers perspectives on the exciting work underway on campuses and in Ottawa. Do you have a polytechnic story to tell? Share it with us!

Education and training infrastructure – a key piece to building the Canada we want

The latter half of 2021 is shaping up to be a period of hope:  hope the pandemic is waning, hope the economy will rebound quickly, hope that massive public investments will set us up for a stronger, greener future.  The role of government is to turn that hope into an ambitious vision, a well-considered plan and the pragmatic steps necessary to achieve it.  Ideally, we use the lessons of the last 16 months to develop a forward-looking, sustainable strategy that seeks to build the Canada we want in 2050.

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Sustainable building: the transition to greener infrastructure

A combination of applied research expertise and climate-aware programming enables polytechnics to take a leadership position for the transition to cleaner, greener infrastructure. A case in point, SAIT’s Green Building Technologies research division recently completed work on The Confluence – a green tech home built in partnership with Woodpecker European Timber Framing that produces more energy than it consumes. The Confluence is posed to achieve the Living Building Challenge’s highest certification. 

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Melanie Ross, the project’s research manager and Hayley Puppato, one of its coordinators, to discuss the effort. 

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Developing tomorrow’s green talent pipeline

Canada’s polytechnics will be key players in the effort to achieve environmental sustainability.  In addition to embedding green skills in their skills development programs, polytechnics actively support industry players with environmental applied research.  Regardless of the sector, employers are increasingly looking for a “sustainability mindset” in new hires.  Responding to this industry demand, Humber recently introduced a new Sustainability Stream in their General Arts and Sciences (GAS) pathway, which will open for enrollment Fall 2021.

Polytechnics Canada sat down for a conversation with Humber’s Jennifer Ball, a professor in the Sociology department who led program development efforts.

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Leveraging polytechnics to support Canada’s post-pandemic recovery

Recovery is on Canada’s horizon.  Despite an initially slow rollout, Canada is now leading the vaccination race, which means now is the time for governments to put post-pandemic plans into action.  Canada’s recovery catalysts need to be out in full force, supporting equitable, green recovery among those most at risk of being left behind. 

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Investments in applied learning innovations crucial to Canada’s frontline workforce

While it is impossible to identify an industry or individual who has been completely undisrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s post-secondary students have been on the receiving end of a disproportionate impact. For those in applied programs, the impact has been even more profound.  Over the past year, despite modifications to program delivery, hands-on learning and work placement opportunities have been hit hard.

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Access tomorrow’s talent today

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in virtually every sector have needed to adapt and pivot, implementing new practices and technologies to support their sustainability and growth. This rapid change has accelerated challenges that Canadian companies were facing even before the pandemic, including the urgent need for workforce upskilling and the search for new talent with already acquired competencies. Here’s where Ontario’s colleges can help.

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Unprecedented employment disruption calls for a new approach to skills training

This year’s International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and young workers.  Those from racialized groups and in low-paid positions have been disproportionately affected.  Between February and November 2020, 58,000 men joined the labour force, whereas 31,000 women left it. In an economic downturn that affected some sectors and occupations much more than others, the divide in the Canadian workforce has never been so stark.

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Now is the time to upskill and reskill

Upskilling and reskilling the workforce is widely understood as vital for the success of any post-pandemic economic recovery.

This fact is underscored in a recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) titled The Future of Jobs Report 2020.

The need to upskill and reskill was already evident before the rise of COVID-19.  The pandemic has only made this necessity more urgent.

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