Beginning in 2011, graduates of Conestoga’s Business Administration program in Materials and Operations Management will have an additional credential to offer to potential employers that will emphasize their skills and training in industry-standard process management methodologies that contribute to reduced waste and improved competitiveness.
The Six Sigma Yellow Belt certificate will be awarded to all Materials & Operations Management graduates who successfully complete project-based courses in Lean Concepts & Continuous Improvement and Value Stream Mapping, which provide them with the skills and knowledge to help businesses drive out waste and become more competitive in today’s global marketplace.
"This is an outstanding development that will provide immediate benefits for our students as well as for the program," said Professor Brian Watson. "Industry recognizes the importance of the Yellow Belt Six Sigma credential, and the skills that it represents."
The certification process was initiated in Spring, 2010 when High Performance Solutions (HPS), a Kitchener-based consulting firm that works with businesses across North America to provide training and coaching in Lean and World Class Performance, conducted an assessment of course content. According to Senior Consultant and Six Sigma Black Belt Karm Matharu, the Six Sigma material and applied projects included in the course material "meet the requirements for a Six Sigma Yellow Belt, and provide students with the knowledge and practical skills to immediately add value in any organization."
The Six Sigma program is a process management strategy originally developed by Motorola in 1981 and now used in many sectors of industry to reduce waste and improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of businesses. Six Sigma improves the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. Six Sigma practitioners are categorized by training levels as Yellow, Green or Black belts, and are qualified to participate in or lead teams for organizations committed to Six Sigma methodologies.
For Victor Bernardo, Lean Facilitator at Dalsa Corporation in Waterloo and a 1988 graduate of the Materials and Operations Management program, the Yellow Belt certification will help students as they leave college and go out to secure that first job. "The certification will give students an edge with employers because it means reduced training time," said Bernardo. "Graduates have the knowledge and tools that can change the momentum of a department from the time that they arrive. Even companies that don’t formally embrace the Six Sigma approach recognize its value in terms of a set of tools for problem-solving that can be applied to business processes."
The demand for qualified personnel to assume supply chain roles in Canada is expected to grow exponentially in the next three to five years, the combined result of growing business needs and workplace retirements. The Business Administration program in Materials and Operations Management is a three-year, full-time diploma program that includes a co-op option for qualified students. A four-course certificate program that includes the Yellow Belt qualifying courses as well as training in Statistics and Leadership is currently in development for individuals already in business and industry who wish to upgrade their skills. The initial offering of the certificate program is targeted for Fall 2011.
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning is one of Canada’s premier polytechnic institutes. Recognized as leaders in applied education and research, we provide a comprehensive range of programs that prepare our graduates for success in business, industry and the community.
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