From the St. Thomas Times-Journal
Tool-and-die training is on hiatus and educating the next generation of wind turbine technicians could soon be in place at Fanshawe College, St. Thomas campus.
Thanks to the economic downturn, the local campus has not only seen a spike in enrolment but they’ve also re-tooled some of the programs offered, and admission dates.
Dean Chris Fliesser estimates they’ve seen enrolment rise to 450 from 400 students — a 15 per cent increase — from last year.
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of activity, which started last summer,” he said, adding that coincides with the launch of Ontario’s Second Career program to help laid off workers re-train.
To accommodate those on the hunt for career training, Fliesser said they’ve started admitting students mid-semester, rather than just in September or January.
“We’re providing opportunity so students can come in at different points in the year,” he said.
The personal support worker program, for example, has four entry points — September, October, January and March.
Fliesser added they’ve introduced an “intake” point for May 11, when two new gas technician and one welding program, among others, are offered.
Increased enrolment and the economic reality in our community has required some changes for Fanshawe-St. Thomas.
For instance, Fliesser said they’ve stopped taking students for the tool-and-die program, once the school’s marquee offering.
“There are a lot of people in that trade right now who are not working and there’s been less demand from a student perspective and employers,” he said, adding they’ll bring it back when demand picks up.
On the flip side, Fliesser said they’ve also got their eye on green energy technology, namely wind turbines. He noted a lot of students in the electronic technician program go on to work with wind turbines. Right now, Fanshawe covers about 70 per cent of the requisite wind turbine training.
“Depending on the employer, they may say, ‘that’s fine, that’s good enough.’ And will take them and train them the rest of the way.
For the others, we’re thinking… should we be offering a wind turbine post-graduate program?” he said. “Our philosophy is that we will put on any program where there is demand for those jobs and we can get enough of a cohort to offer it.”