Algonquin College and Siemens Canada launch mechatronics, co-op programs

Siemens-Algonquin Signatures
Robert Hardt, president of Siemens Canada, and Cheryl Jensen, president of Algonquin College, sign the programs partnership at an event. Photo by Christopher Carroll.

Algonquin College and Siemens Canada are expanding their partnership with new programs aimed at meeting the demand for skilled workers with advanced manufacturing expertise.

Five Algonquin students will join the Siemens Canada Engineering and Technology Academy starting in the fall, taking part in a certificate program for mechatronics systems. Taught at the Ottawa campus, the goal of the program is to provide a well-rounded understanding of mechanical, electrical and computer software engineering, combining facets of each into an advanced systems theory used in manufacturing.

Chris Janzen, Algonquin College’s dean of the faculty of technology and trades, says that as the manufacturing process becomes increasingly based on automation, demand is rising for engineers who understand not just the robotic components, but how entire systems operate.

“As the world becomes more complex, students will need an understanding of the systems,” he tells Techopia. “This program takes a holistic, integrated approach to designing and implementing these systems.”

“We’re preparing our students for the jobs of the future … for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” said Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen at a joint event launching the programs on Tuesday morning at the school.

The school’s partnership with Siemens Canada extends back to 2012, when the organization helped revamp the campus’ infrastructure to become more sustainable. The company has helped to install a natural gas powered generator on campus, with another soon to come, which not only powers the school’s facilities, but also provides a hands-on learning environment for students.

Siemens Canada President Robert Hardt told the crowd about the importance of integrating learning with the modern workplace.

“Academia and industry can no longer work in silos to prepare the future workforce,” he said.

He pointed to Siemens Canada’s Dual-Education program, also coming to the college, as the company’s commitment to this process. The program provides students at Siemens’ partner institutions with a co-op placement in the final two years of their programs.

Hardt says that the first cohort of students in this program is graduating in April, and that all 26 are joining Siemens Canada will full-time jobs.