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!

Polytechnic Alumni Spotlight: Ilona Monkman, One of Canada’s First HIM Professionals to Work in a First Nations’ Health Centre

Polytechnic institutions offer expert-led, industry-relevant training for high-performance talent. In this Q&A series, graduates from across our member institutions discuss how a polytechnic education helped propel their success in diverse fields.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Ilona Monkman, a lifelong learner and graduate of Saskatchewan Polytechnics’ Health Information Management (HIM) program. She is the HIM practitioner at the Sturgeon Lake Health Centre on Sturgeon Lake First Nation. In this interview, Monkman explains how her education at Saskatchewan Polytechnic provided her with the skills needed to launch a career that entails managing critical health information.

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Book Summary: Innovation in Real Places by Dan Breznitz

Published in 2021, Innovation in Real Places explores the fundamentals of innovation policy, the billions spent around the world to achieve innovation-based economic growth and key takeaways for policymakers.

The book is authored by Dan Breznitz, best known as the Chair of Innovation Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto.  He also is the Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab and a Fellow at CIFAR.  More recently, Breznitz has been working at the Department of Finance, where he is tasked with injecting new thinking into the Canadian government’s innovation policy, working out of the Deputy Minister’s office.  He is involved in the development of the new Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency but is also thinking more broadly about the modernization of the National Research Council and how best to increase productivity across all sectors and regions of Canada.

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Upskilling and Reskilling Spotlight: The Excellence in Mental Health Leadership Micro-credential at Humber College

As champions of lifelong learning, polytechnic institutions develop innovative and industry-responsive upskilling and reskilling programs, preparing learners to re-enter the workforce or start new careers. This kind of focused, career-oriented training is a great way to address labour shortages and skills gaps in the Canadian economy.

Polytechnics Canada recently met with Alice Wright, Partnership Lead at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health Learning Institute (SickKids CCMH LI), Neill Carson, Executive Director, The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Community Mental Health at SickKids (GH-CCMH), who is one of the facilitators in the program, and Frank Cappadocia, Dean of Continuous Professional Learning at Humber College. They spoke with us about the Excellence in Mental Health Leadership micro-credential, a program that provides leadership training to new and emerging leaders in Ontario’s community mental health sector.

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Polytechnic Alumni Spotlight: GlobalMedic Founder, Rahul Singh

Polytechnic institutions offer expert-led, industry-relevant training for high-performance talent. In this Q&A series, graduates from across our member institutions discuss how a polytechnic education helped propel their success in diverse fields.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Rahul Singh, a graduate of Humber College’s Paramedic program. He is the founder of GlobalMedic, a frontline medical agency that provides cost-effective disaster relief around the world. Through this agency, Singh has led more than 50 missions to over 30 countries. He has been awarded the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2006 and was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2010 for his work with GlobalMedic. In this interview, Singh explains how his education at Humber provided him with the skills needed to lead an innovative and impactful aid organization.

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Upskilling and Reskilling Spotlight: CRADLE+ Program at Conestoga College

As champions of lifelong learning, polytechnic institutions develop innovative and industry-responsive upskilling and reskilling programs, preparing learners to re-enter the workforce or start new careers. This kind of focused, career-oriented training is a great way to address labour shortages and skills gaps in the Canadian economy.

Polytechnics Canada recently connected with Dr. Veronique Boscart, who at the time of publication, was the Executive Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences at Conestoga College, and Michelle Heyer, Chair of Seniors Care at Conestoga. They told us about the Canadian Remote Access for Dementia Learning Experiences+ (CRADLE+) program, an online dementia care training program spearheaded by the Canadian Institute for Seniors Care at Conestoga. Available in multiple languages, this free training explores evidence-informed, person-centred approaches to supporting people living with dementia.

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Polytechnic Alumni Spotlight: ApplyBoard Co-founders, Meti and Massi Basiri

Polytechnic institutions offer expert-led, industry-relevant training for high-performance talent. In this Q&A series, graduates from across our member institutions discuss how a polytechnic education helped propel their success in diverse fields.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Meti and Massi Basiri, two 2014 graduates of Conestoga College’s Business Administration – Marketing Advanced Diploma Program and Fitness and Health Promotion Diploma Program. They are co-founders of ApplyBoard, the world’s largest online platform for international student recruitment and one of the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. The pair has also been named to three different Forbes 30 Under 30 lists. In this interview, Meti and Massi explain how their education at Conestoga provided them with the skills needed to found a unicorn start-up.

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2022: The year in review

As 2022 comes to a close, we are facing a post-pandemic reality that needs polytechnic education more than ever. Among the solutions they offer, polytechnics help address labour shortages and pressing climate change challenges. They are helping business partners overcome obstacles to innovation and offering students state-of-the-art training spaces. They also ensure the values of equity, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of their work, finding new ways to reach broader audiences and underrepresented communities.

We have identified a few examples of the impact our members made this year:

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Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the future of Canada’s mining sector

As the Canadian government invests in the critical minerals sector, building partnerships is key. One important factor will be finding opportunities to innovate, improve sustainability and equip the sector’s workforce for the future.

Polytechnics Canada sat down with Dr. Robin Smith, Academic Chair of Applied Research Operations, School of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing and School of Natural Resources and Built Environment, Paul Labbe, Research Chair, School of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing and Dr. Terry Peckham, Director and Research Chair, Digital Integration Centre of Excellence (DICE) to discuss how Saskatchewan Polytechnic is rising to the occasion.

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Conestoga’s School of Trades & Apprenticeship is building tomorrow’s talent

With Ontario facing skilled trades shortages, there’s a movement afoot to attract young talent. At Conestoga College, skilled trades and apprenticeship training have long been a focus. Students at their School of Trades and Apprenticeship benefit from partnerships with local, national and international companies which guide programs and offer experiential placements across the Construction, Motive Power, Industrial and Service sectors.

Polytechnics Canada checked in with Suzanne Moyer, Dean of Trades & Apprenticeship, and Tony Thoma, Executive Dean, Engineering, Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship, to discuss current initiatives to boost the skilled trades workforce.

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