EMSB to Inaugurate New Vocational Training Facility

a garage with white and red cars in the parking
A look at the auto mechanics garage at the new facility.
Montreal - Thursday, November 30, 2017

The English Montreal School Board will mark the opening of a new vocational training facility that specializes in Welding & Fitting and Automobile Mechanics on Thursday, November 30, in St. Leonard (6065 Boulevard des Grandes-Prairies) with tours and presentations at 9 am and 5 pm (by invitation only).

EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini said she is very pleased with the opening of this new facility which will meet the increased demand for vocational programs in Auto Mechanics and Welding & Fitting while benefitting the English community.  Operations began in August and enrollment is already steady in both the day and evening programs.  The building that houses these two programs underwent significant renovations to meet the required Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES) program specifications and industry standards.  Its unique layout mirrors an industrial setting, allowing the students to learn their trade in a first-class environment that prepares them for the workforce.  Both the Automotive Mechanics and the Welding & Fitting facilities have the most up-to-date equipment, technologies and processes.

The automobile mechanics program has the capacity to train up to 240 students in their day and night classes. The automobile mechanics department is equipped with test stands for troubleshooting transmission, engine and onboard computers, and dedicated simulation areas for learning suspension, brake and differential overhaul.  The automobile mechanics area has computerized workstations at each of the 19 car lifts where the students can utilize the latest diagnostic software to determine and fix electronic issues in transmissions, engine and onboard electronics.  It also includes a designated section for the Automotive Detailing program which leads to a Skills Training Certificate (STC) and prepares the student to practice the trade of automotive detailing.

As for the Welding & Fitting program, it has the capacity to train up to 220 students in their day and night classes.  The department incorporates the latest generation of welding machines, a comprehensive array of fabrication and processing machinery, as well as an assembly area with jigs and fixtures.  The layout of the welding shop replicates a state of the art fabrication company, with a receiving end for raw material (steel, aluminum, stainless-steel), and a fabrication machinery section that houses the necessary machines (CNC shears, saws, notchers, drill presses, ironworkers, slip rollers, grinders, etc.). Students acquire the qualifications needed to prepare and weld steel, stainless-steel and aluminum parts according to different processes (TIG, MIG, Stick and Flux-core).  In addition, there are dedicated sections for grinding, oxy and plasma cutting.

Whether they are studying Automobile Mechanics or Welding & Fitting, students graduate with a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) issued by the Quebec Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES).  This requires 1,800 hours (approximately eighteen months) of study, whereby approximately 30 percent is theoretical and 70 percent is practical.  Upon graduation, students are prepared for the workforce with the exposure and expertise that industry requires.  Welding & Fitting graduates are employed in companies in the fields of aerospace, heavy machinery building and repair, ornamental works, petroleum, valve manufacturing, general repair and construction.

According to Randstad, a global leader in the human resources services industry and a leader in technical job placements, as many as 50 percent of manufacturers are currently experiencing skilled labour shortages. Part of the issue at hand is the longstanding preference for university education over vocational training. The skilled trades have long suffered from being seen as “blue collar”, and it’s “time that type of thinking was eliminated”. The skills required in modern manufacturing are every bit as complex and rewarding as in any white collar industry.

The skills that employers in the manufacturing sector are looking for are as varied as the industry itself. Though there is a steady demand for industrial labourers and assemblers, there is a growing need for skilled trade workers. Labour shortages in this sector have led to a wealth of exciting (and well-paying) opportunities for trade workers to choose from. Welders, mechanics and machinists are in particularly high demand. Véronique Proulx, president-director general of Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec, recently told Le Journal de Montréal that there is currently a shortage of approximately 150,000 workers in the manufacturing sector in Quebec.

In Le Journal de Montréal, Emploi-Québec reported the results of a survey completed in February 2017 by the Conseil du patronat du Québec, which revealed that 70 percent of employers were having difficulty finding workers, as well as a shortage of 500 welders in the lower St-Lawrence region. Job prospects in welding throughout Quebec is rated as reasonable to good through the years 2015 to 2019.

The employment growth for this occupational group is related to the trends affecting the manufacturing industry, repair and maintenance, as well as construction, related mostly to the demand for welding activities in these industries. The Government of Canada website jobbank.gc.ca states that welders and machine operators will benefit from this growth forecast in the 2016 to 2018 period.

In February 2018, this new facility will host the Montreal Regional Skills Olympics in the Welding , Automobile Mechanics  and Fitting categories. Winners will compete in the Quebec Skills Olympics held at Place Bonaventure in Montreal from May 3 to 4, 2018.

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