Get out of the school to learn their trade

soeurs-jennifer-kristina-bourgault-session(Quebec) An expansion project to more than $ 5 million will allow DSD International, a company in Thetford Mines, specialized in the injection molding, assembly and packaging of technical parts made from plastics, to add a string to its bow with the upcoming opening of a department of the extrusion.

The challenge for the chairperson Sonia Vachon and her team will provide an in-fifteen new positions that will be added to the hundreds that already exist.

“It is difficult to find skilled labour in our industry,” said she. “There is a real shortage of technicians in the processing of plastics.”

To remedy the scarcity of specialized resources, the enterprises do not have the choice to train their workforce in-house. It costs money, it takes time, and the results are not always conclusive both for the worker and for the company.

Fortunately, Sonia Vachon could soon see a little light at the end of the tunnel.In effect, the minister of Education, higher Education and Research, François Blais, has just been entrusted with a special mission at the Cégep de Thetford. Follow the dual approach of German in order to restore the wings to the Technical program of the plastics industry, which attracts, on average, less than 10 students per year, while the need for labour-skilled labour are evident in the 519 companies in the sector of plastics and composites in Quebec. Note that the Cégep de Thetford is the only establishment of the college system in the Province to train technicians in the processing of plastics.

First flirting with German model

Offered in the form of a pilot project, the initiative will allow students to continue their education while gaining experience in the workplace.

This is the first time that Quebec was flirting with the dual approach of German.

“The goal is to align the technical training collegial requirements and direct needs of the labour market by incorporating an important part of learning to be achieved in the companies or through projects with and for businesses,” explains the director of studies at the Cégep de Thetford, Odette Side.

Specifically, 60 % of the students ‘ time will be devoted to learning activities carried out in companies. On-site, they will be accompanied and supervised by a lecturer from the department of plastics processing.

The other 40 % of the teaching time will be given to specific knowledge in a approach of traditional pedagogy in the classroom and in the laboratory at the college. For example, courses in English, philosophy, and English will continue to be given in the premises of the college.

“The graduates will acquire the skills required to meet the needs of companies in terms of the technical design of products and tooling, planning, organization and launch of the production, but also implementation and quality control as well as supervision,” says coté.

“The company has not to replace the teacher,” does she care to mention. “Its main responsibility is to deliver projects and tasks that can be carried out by the students which can be integrated to existing activities of the company or in parallel to it.”

Match between training and employment

Students will find their account there also. They will be able to conduct real-world projects of design of plastic parts in an industrial context. They will become familiar with the different technologies present in the companies. They will develop practical expertise. They will establish links with businesses in order to find a job. Finally, they will learn the culture of the industrial environment and they will be better prepared to integrate it to the end of their studies.

“Our government has made a firm commitment to ensure a better match between training and labour market needs”, said the minister Blais at the announcement of the implementation of this new program on August 20. “The students will receive training with the learning in the workplace more dynamic and more representative jobs. They will be able to better respond to the needs of manpower in the field of the plastics processing industry in Quebec.”

In an interview to the Sun in October 2014, François Blais, minister of Employment and social Solidarity, said, he wished to follow the example of Germany, which has an education system in which young people are alternating between the training school and internships.

“The philosophy behind the dual approach is to integrate and evolve, from the beginning of the training, the student in an industrial context,” explains Odette Side. “The version that we offer is the use of industrial projects real or based on real-world projects as a context for learning for our students.”

It is a different approach than the popular formula-co-op by which the learning of the craft or the profession includes, in a structured manner, sequences in the classroom and in business.

The companies were likely to raise their hand to participate in the pilot project at the Cégep de Thetford. Plastiques Moore is part of it.

Companies embark
As soon as the minister of Education, higher Education and Research, François Blais, who has spent his “command” at the Cégep de Thetford to quickly rearrange the program of Technical studies in the field, using the dual approach of German, the management of the establishment, immediately turned to the companies in the sector of plastics and composite materials that are seeking partners to assist in the implementation of this project is innovative and unique in Québec.

It is dozens of volunteers raised their hand.

In the region of Chaudière-Appalaches, PW, Moore Plastics, Plastic Micron, I. Thibault, Moulexpert, Plasti-Tom, DSD International and Packaging E. B., and others, have responded to the call of the Cégep de Thetford.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” says Simon Christian, executive director of the Valley of the plastics industry, a body which promotes the industry of plastics and composite materials in the Chaudière-Appalaches. Third in importance to the level of the Beautiful Province in this sector of activity, this region includes 65 companies and more than 5000 workers.

“It’s simple, everyone in Quebec wants to put the hand in the dough”, he adds.

Post of technician in plastics processing is left vacant for lack of candidates, it is the standard in the industry. This is particularly the case in the Chaudière-Appalaches, where the unemployment rate was a meager 4.5% in July. The lowest in Quebec.

Remedy horse

According to Simon Christian, a strong medicine was needed to arouse the interest of young people for careers in the plastics industry.

The implementation of the new program seems to get things moving, since the Cégep de Thetford hosts, this session, with 19 new students. Generally, they are two times less. However, it should be mentioned that since last year, the school puts great lengths to publicize the program of Technical studies in the field, to young people in secondary schools.

“Today, a lot of young people dream of a different education system in which they will spend less time the classroom and more in the workplace,” explains Simon Christian, mentioning that the French canadian adaptation of the dual approach German could possibly be the lifeline of several programs of technical education who are struggling to attract students, but for which employment prospects are favourable.

Gold bar

Of course, the future graduates of the new program of Technical studies in the field, will represent the gold bar for companies.

“Coming out of the school, the students have not only a theoretical approach to the profession of technician in plastics processing. They have experienced the true life within a company. They will have learned to work with the equipment and the most modern technologies that are,” believes the president of DSD International, Sonia Vachon, noting that the implementation of this new program, Thetford Mines, would contribute to the retention region of the young, since they will have access to quality jobs in their area of the country.

“It is certain that the conduct of daily business will be a little disturbed when the students and their teacher are installed in the factory. […] However, the game is worth the candle,” said the director-general of the Valley of the plastics industry.

The German dual training
The word dual means the alternation between-the-job training and academic training in a professional school.
About one-third of Germans who do not work in occupations requiring a university education have training in alternation.
According to the trades, the training lasts between two and three years and a half.
In-company training are offered in the industry, in trade, in the service sector, the independent professions, as well as in the public service.
In general, the apprentice works between three and four days in the company where he acquired the practical knowledge or artisan of his craft.
It must also follow from 8 to 12 hours per week in a vocational school.
This type of training is funded by the companies that pay a stipend to apprentices and by the State, which funds vocational schools.
Source : Portal of

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