The proposal to the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) Regional Future Workforce Program focused on inclusivity and on bringing together the Engineering Outreach office, the School of Engineering Design and Teaching Innovation, and the Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre. This collaboration raised awareness of opportunities in the automotive and mobility industry throughout the entire education sector, from kindergarten to higher education, thereby widening the funnel to include more BIPOC students and help them develop some of the key skills needed for careers in this field.
“The Faculty of Engineering was uniquely positioned to offer a program that integrates activities from kindergarten to industry. Such an approach will provide a larger and more diverse talent pool to the automotive and mobility industry,” said Hanan Anis, director of the School of Teaching Design and Teaching Innovation.
This initiative raised awareness and engagement among youth, which is in keeping with OVIN objectives and addresses the need for diverse voices in the workforce.
“The Faculty of Engineering was uniquely positioned to offer a program that integrates activities from kindergarten to industry.”
— Director, School of Engineering Design and Teaching Innovation
Starting with hands-on activities for children from kindergarten to high school, our sustainable model targets students early, deepening their knowledge and interest over time. This approach ensures long-term scalability, allowing new students to join at any level. Through interactive STEM projects, students learn coding and software engineering, progressively preparing them to apply for university.
The post-secondary segment, led by the School of Engineering Design and Teaching Innovation and the Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre, offers admission scholarships to post-secondary students and equips them with diverse skills, enabling them to engage with K-12 students and participate in industry preparedness workshops. Through the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace and Manufacturing Training Centre, students attend workshops on 3D printing, laser cutting, mill and lathe work, and many more practical skills, which enhances their preparedness for future careers.
In addition, a number of engineering students benefit from working as interns in industry, resulting in industry experience and better market readiness.
This unique approach widens the funnel of students considering careers in the automotive and mobility industry and cultivates a cycle of mentorship and support that inspires future leaders. These initiatives, supported by OVIN funding, aim to democratize engineering education and to make the automotive and mobility industry accessible to everyone.