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!

Green educational infrastructure: A building block for just transition

It is no longer necessary to expound on the importance of taking action to address climate change.  Canada’s federal government and every major political party have committed to addressing the problem.  There is widespread support among Canadians and, indeed, our global counterparts.  Increasingly, we are seeing larger emitters – companies, sectors, provinces – committing to a greener future.  What remains are the specifics of a just transition.  

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College research and innovation is helping Canada build back better

Making inroads for college researchers amidst Canada’s university-dominated research and innovation landscape often feels like climbing uphill in mud. This feeling persisted long before the pandemic and has only been amplified since. But, like climbing uphill in mud, it’s an invigorating adventure. The work of our researchers is too often overlooked and undervalued, and it’s long overdue that we start talking more about it.

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Skilled trades training in 2021: A polytechnic approach

Providing a hands-on, industry-aligned education has long been a priority for Canada’s polytechnics.  Institutions are continually re-evaluating their approaches to training and course delivery, responding to industry demand and learner preferences.  At the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), this evolution has reached skilled trades programming – one of the most traditional learning pathways on offer.  The institution recently introduced a fast-track pathway to apprenticeship that includes a focus on employability skills identified by industry as critical.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with NAIT’s Dean of Skilled Trades, Matthew Lindberg, to discuss what’s changed.

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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 microcredentials: 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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