Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology (CSTT) was officially opened at Durham College last month. Located at the Whitby campus, the 60,000-sq. ft. facility is home to numerous specialized labs and shops to expand the industrial skilled trades training capacity by 750 students.
The milestone grand opening event featured tours of the CSTT; an Indigenous blessing given by Senator Cecile Wagar from the Oshawa and Durham Métis Council; an official ribbon cutting; and remarks from individuals representing DC students, alumni, employees and local community partners.
Increasing training capacity will address the skilled labour shortage at the regional, provincial and national level. Colleges Ontario is forecasting that by 2030 the province will face a shortage of more than 500,000 workers in the skilled trades.
“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,” said Don Lovisa, president, 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.”
Built with a focus on high-priority industries such as elevating devices and trades including electricians, crane operators and millwrights and emerging areas such as boilermakers, the 60,000 sq. ft. centre that will double the college’s industrial skilled trades training capacity.
In addition, it will position the college as “ground zero” for post-secondary and apprenticeship elevating devices training in Ontario and Canada.Features of the expansion include:
- A double-height shop lab to address the specialized needs of both the mechanical and construction programs. Home to a two-storey building model, the lab will allow plumbing students to work underneath it while elevating devices students will be able to work in an easily accessible dual-level elevator shaft.
- Classrooms with moveable walls and furniture to accommodate various configurations.
- Training labs with dedicated space and equipment for a range of post-secondary and apprenticeship programs.
- Student touchdown spaces.
- A fitness centre.
- A food services facility.
Partnering with DC to help fund the expansion is the Town of Whitby, who is generously contributing $1 million over a five-year period to support the construction. A Building for Skills capital campaign will also be launched shortly to generate additional donations.
The Town of Whitby and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) partnered with the college.
“Support from community partners like Ontario Power Generation makes an incredible difference at DC by helping to enhance our programs and facilities and providing access to industry expertise and experiential learning opportunities for our students to advance their skills,” said Linda Flynn, associate vice-president, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and executive director, Durham College Foundation.
“Seeing this building come together through the collaborative effort of so many is an incredible feeling, and we are proud of the role it plays in the success of our students and the Region.”
In less than three years, the DC Building for Skills campaign has raised $9.5 million toward the $10 million in community support required to fully fund the $35 million project, which includes generous funding from the Region of Durham, the Town of Whitby and the Durham College Student Association (DCSA), in addition to donations and gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. Fundraising activities continue in an effort to close the gap, with an aim to complete the campaign this spring.
“This state-of-the-art facility is just the latest in Ontario Power Generations’ decades’-long partnership with Durham College,” said Subo Sinnathamby, senior vice president, Nuclear Refurbishment, OPG.
“This partnership helps educate and train career-ready graduates to build a diverse population of potential employees for the energy sector in skilled trades and STEM. Now more than ever, we need skilled, talented and qualified graduates to support our current and future operational and project needs.”