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!

Microcredentials are an agile, stackable upskilling offering at BCIT

As industries grow and adapt to both technological and social transformations in Canadian society, polytechnics work to ensure their program offerings keep pace with a dynamic labour market.  One way they do this is by involving industry experts in curriculum design, ensuring programs meet the needs of an evolving workforce.  With increasing demand for mid-career upskilling, BCIT has recently launched three industry-relevant micro-credentials: mass timber construction, natural resource protection and digital transformation.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Tom Roemer, BCIT’s Vice President Academic, to discuss the new approach.

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Polytechnics positioned to support federal Biomanufacturing Strategy

Late last month, the federal government announced a highly anticipated biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy.  Building on commitments in Budget 2021, the strategy earmarks more than $2.2 billion over the next seven years to better prepare Canada for future pandemics.  Five pillars – governance, research and talent, business investment, modernized regulation and public capacity to respond to health crises – form the basis of expansive efforts to revive Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity. 

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Digital Marketing: A micro-credential for the modern market

Upskilling and reskilling, especially when it comes to digital fluency, is becoming increasingly important as technology evolves and its influence on the Canadian labour market becomes ubiquitous.  Polytechnics offer specialized short-cycle courses designed to provide businesses and mid-career workers with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.

At Sheridan, professors Garrett Hall and Dr. Sujinda Hwang-Leslie have partnered with the Pilon School of Business and the Faculty of Continuing and Professional Studies to develop a digital marketing micro-credential that will be launched in fall 2021.

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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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