Conestoga to develop showcase facility for trades education
By Conestoga College
By Conestoga College
Local politicians, industry partners and friends of Conestoga joined college employees at a special event on Tuesday, November 19 where President John Tibbits announced the development of a new Skilled Trades Training campus to be developed in Cambridge.
The college has completed the purchase of a 250,000 square foot facility at 25 Reuter Drive, in the heart of Cambridge Business Park with visibility and proximity to Highway 401. Originally constructed in 2003 with substantial renovations completed in 2009, the facility includes upgraded office and manufacturing areas ideally suited to unique requirements of trades education and training.
The land parcel of 41.2 acres provides future expansion opportunities.
“I am tremendously pleased to announce that Conestoga is now working on the development of a premier, comprehensive Skilled Trades Campus in Cambridge that will play a key role in addressing workforce needs here in our community and across Ontario,” Tibbits said. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will be instrumental in our efforts to deliver an outstanding learning experience and attract more students to trades-based careers.”
Planning for the campus is now underway, with the facility expected to open by September 2021.
According to Ray Tanguay, retired President and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada and a member of Conestoga’s Board of Governors, training more individuals for skilled trades careers is essential for business.
“Quality products and successful businesses can only be achieved when companies have access to a talented, skilled workforce,” Tanguay explained. “Finding ways to attract more people to skilled trades careers and making a firm commitment to developing the trades workforce are important steps forward in addressing skills shortages.”
For more than ten years, skilled trades positions have consistently ranked as the most difficult roles to fill, both locally and across the country. In 2017, the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance reported that up to 41 per cent of its members would hire more employees if they could find people with the right skills.
According to BuildForce Canada, the construction sector in Ontario alone will require 104,000 new construction and maintenance workers by 2028.
The provincial government predicts that one in five new jobs in Ontario over the next five years will be in trades-related occupations. Attracting new entrants into trades education and training programs is an essential first step towards addressing Ontario’s skilled trades talent shortage.
Conestoga is a provincial leader in trades and apprenticeship training, delivering a comprehensive range of programming for the industrial/manufacturing, construction and transportation trades. Currently delivered across the college’s network of campuses, the full complement of programs will be delivered at the new Skilled Trades Training campus when development is complete.