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Business Productivity and Competitiveness

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Cutting-Edge Technology Keeps Manitoba Aerospace Sector Competitive

Cutting-edge equipment is critical to competitiveness in the manufacturing sector, and particularly the aerospace industry. In Winnipeg, Red River College (RRC) is equipping its Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT) to train the next generation of aerospace professionals.

The CATT, located at the College’s Richardson International Airport campus, will extend the advanced manufacturing training already developed by Red River College to include automated fabrication, robotic welding and advanced metallic coating processes. these processes represent state-of-the- art technologies for aerospace manufacture, maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations.

Specifically, WD funding of $3 million equipped the CATT with advanced laser welding and automated laser cladding and cutting tools. In addition to these tools, NRC will also install a hot section coating system, which is used to manufacture aircraft engine turbine blades. The Province of Manitoba provided an additional $1.2 million through the Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement.

This investment helps strengthen Manitoba’s position as an aerospace leader by providing students and industry the equipment needed to train skilled workers and promote the development of new technologies,” said Minister of State Yelich.

Through this investment, students will train in a high-tech industrial laboratory and factory setting that will also be used for pre-commercial research with industrial partners Stevenson Aviation and Standard Aero.

Red River College plays a vital role in building the Manitoba economy, and this facility will allow us to develop even more advanced training and applied research partnerships to support the growth and stability of the manufacturing sector,” said Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President of Red River College.

The aerospace industry is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel and, with this additional equipment, CATT will be able to offer advanced aerospace diploma and degree programs training to help address.

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Red River College

RCC is Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, with more than 32,000 full-time, part-time, and apprenticeship students. Among the most popular offerings are the aircraft maintenance engineering apprenticeship and diploma programs.

NAIT expands trades training capacity

When it comes to meeting the growing demand for labour, Western Canada has a valuable ally.

NAIT (formerly the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) – the Edmonton-based training powerhouse that already trains more than half of Alberta’s, and roughly 17 per cent of Canada’s, trades people – is undertaking an aggressive ten-year plan to take its impressive results to the next level.

Their rolling Workforce Development Plan, expected to cost $1.5 billion, will create a world-class technical institute that will accommodate a 25 per cent increase in capacity – from the current level of 86,500 students to an estimated total of 108,000 students.

To raise the money for the much-needed expansion, NAIT is working in collaboration with its industry and government partners, including WD.

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Partnerships the Key to Training Tomorrow’s Skilled Workforce

Such partnerships are the core of win-win solutions says WD Minister of State Lynne Yelich. “NAIT’s approach is a great example of what can be accomplished when industry, post-secondary institutions and different orders of government work together to improve our economic competitiveness and the technology skills of our workforce.

Much of the expansion activity is focused on the NAIT Centres for Apprenticeship Technologies, a series of facilities that train apprentices in some of the country’s fastest-growing occupations. NAIT is serving close to 16,000 apprentices in 2007-08, up from almost 13,000 the previous year.

In 2008, WD invested $2.2 million towards the purchase of equipment for labs located within the NAIT Sandvik Coromant Centre for Machinist Technology. The $10 million center boasts five labs, including a Computer Numerical Control Machinist Lab, individual Machinist Labs for each of the four years of apprenticeship and a Metrology Lab, making it the best equipped machinist training facility in the country. The new centre, which opened in January 2008, increases training capacity by 50 percent, to 660 students a year.

WD also invested $3.8 million in specialized high-end equipment for the NAIT Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology, which opened in September 2007. With 11 instrumentation labs, $6.5 million worth of new equipment, an 80-seat lecture theatre with state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology and 11 smart classrooms, the Spartan Centre increases capacity by 61 per cent. The hands-on training provided at the centre ensures that students learn to work safely and efficiently in industries that are increasingly automated and require advanced problem-solving skills.

A third facility, the NAIT Petro-Canada Centre for Millwright Technology, has received more than $640,000 from WD. Seven state-of-the-art labs, six smart classrooms and $16 million worth of new equipment provide competency-based training on a scale unsurpassed anywhere in the world, according to Millwright Program Chair, Vern Gorman. The centre is now able to accommodate 700 students, a 25 per cent increase.

WD’s investments in NAIT – more than $9.8 million in total since 2006 – are an important means of achieving our goal of improved business competitiveness and increased productivity. By creating a new generation of skilled workers, armed with the knowledge of leading-edge technologies and applications, NAIT is creating a competitive edge for Western Canada in the global market.

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Saskatchewan Builds on Manufacturing Sector

Saskatchewan has taken enormous strides to diversify its economy in recent years. Although maintaining that momentum in today’s challenging economic climate isn’t easy, a new federal-provincial initiative will help improve the competitiveness and productivity of the manufacturing sector.

In March 2009, WD and the provincial governments made a joint announcement to invest nearly $200,000 to establish a manufacturers’ resource center in Saskatoon.

The funding will provide industry training in manufacturing practices, support the human resources needs of Saskatchewan manufacturers, and increase the productivity and competitiveness of provincial manufacturing firms.

The investment and commitment to manufacturing in Saskatchewan by the federal and provincial governments will assist manufacturers in their journey to be competitive in the global economy and expand their exports in the world,” said Brian McCready, Saskatchewan Vice President of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

In January of 2009, in partnership with the Government of Saskatchewan, WD announced an investment of $50 million over the next four years to renew the Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA), supporting long-term economic growth and competitiveness in Saskatchewan.

Fostering international opportunities in Saskatchewan

For over a decade, Saskatchewan’s small- and medium-businesses have had help seeking out new business opportunities from the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP). Now the non-profit corporation has another tool at its disposal – a team devoted to helping exporters bid on international contracts.

In April 2009, WD announced $319,000 in support for STEP to establish a new unit responsible for coordinating marketing and contract management with international financial institutions for the benefit of western Canadian companies. The WD investment will be matched by a similar contribution from STEP.

With STEP’s knowledge of Saskatchewan’s products and services, and its contacts with international financial institutions, Saskatchewan firms will be better able to bid and compete for international contracts resulting in increased prosperity for Saskatchewan businesses,” said Minister of State Yelich.

Established in 1996 as a partnership between provincial exporting organizations and the provincial government, STEP has a mandate to coordinate provincial exporting efforts, particularly among small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Over the past 10 years, STEP has completed a number of successful projects, with support from WD, that increase business competitiveness and strengthen the economy. With the help of STEP, Saskatchewan firms are better able to compete for international contracts that result in increased prosperity for provincial businesses.