A Look at Durham College’s Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology
With Durham College’s Whitby campus receiving a 130% increase in student population over the past decade, clearly it was time to expand its facilities. And with a growing manpower shortage in the skilled trades, it made sense for Durham to partner with Ontario Power Generation – one of the largest, most diverse clean power producers in North America – to build the Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology (CSTT).
Opened in 2022, the CSTT is an estimated 60,000 square feet in size and capable of training roughly 750 future tradespeople at once.
Addressing the Trades Labour Shortage
The main goal of the new facility: draw more learners into the skilled trades and help develop solutions for a labour shortage affecting the entire country.
As an example, Colleges Ontario estimated that Ontario could face a shortage of roughly half a million skilled trades workers by 2030. Should that prove true, it could make it harder than ever for Ontarians to buy or maintain their homes.
The CSTT can help solve this problem while ensuring Durham students enjoy an innovative education that prepares them for careers in rapidly evolving skilled trades industries, like construction, manufacturing, motive power, and technology.
An Investment in Students, Oshawa, and Canada
The facility is named for Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a Crown corporation responsible for about half of all electricity generation in the province. Recently, Durham – along with Ontario Tech University – received a $5 million investment from OPG designed to help train a new generation of skilled tradespeople capable of confronting climate change.
It’s hoped the investment, along with the new Whitby facility, will further the development of renewable energy projects, nuclear energy sources, and the implementation of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.
A New Home for Skilled Trades Programs
With its opening, a variety of skilled trades programs call the CSTT their home, including:
- Electrical Engineering Technician
- Electrical Techniques
- Mechanical Technician – Elevating Devices
- Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing
- Apprenticeship programs for future electricians, plumbers, and construction professionals
A major feature of the new CSTT facility is a double-height shop lab designed for mechanical and construction programs. Boasting a two-storey building model, the shop enables students to gain a fuller picture of how their chosen skilled trade complements other trades in their industry.
The CSTT facility also features a fitness centre, food services facility, and classrooms with adjustable walls meant to facilitate a more customizable learning environment.
“This incredible new facility will help bring student success to life, creating opportunities to advance innovation and knowledge and providing a career launchpad for the next generation of skilled tradespeople,” says Don Lovisa, President of Durham College.
“The generosity and support from our community is an investment in our collective success and our students’ futures, and core not only to the successful completion of this building but to the entire revitalization of the Whitby campus as we continue to lead the way in transformative education.”
You can learn more about the CSTT in this video on the Durham website.