Conestoga news

October 18, 2023 3:38 PM

Magna Centre for Industrial Skilled Trades established at Conestoga

A leadership gift from Magna International will support innovative and inclusive trades training programs at Conestoga to fuel the talent pipeline and address skilled labour shortages.

The company will invest $1M over the next five years to establish the Magna Centre for Industrial Skilled Trades at the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus in Cambridge. The new centre will increase capacity for skilled trades programs and apprenticeship training, including shops and labs for millwright, electromechanical, automation maintenance and precision metal.

“At Magna, we firmly believe that investing in the next generation of talent is a joint responsibility between industry, government and educational institutions, serving as a vital means to support the communities where we operate,” said Aaron McCarthy, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, at Magna. “By partnering with Conestoga and their efforts in equipping students with the necessary tools and training, we are shaping a brighter future for the automotive industry and paving the way for continued innovation. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to fostering skilled trades development and empowering young minds to excel in this ever-evolving field. Magna is honoured to be part of this transformational journey.”

Ontario has an urgent need for more skilled trades professionals to support industry competitiveness and growth. According to reports, the province will need more than 100,000 new skilled tradespeople within the decade to keep pace. Attracting new entrants into trades education and training is the first step in addressing the talent shortage.

The first phase of the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus opened in fall 2022 and includes a 322,000 sq ft building with 150,000 sq ft devoted to shops and labs, including the new Magna Centre for Industrial Skilled Trades. When fully realized, the campus will include multiple buildings across the 41-acre property with state-of-the-art facilities to modernize apprenticeship and skilled trades training by consolidating and expanding the full complement of trades programs at a single location.  

“We greatly appreciate the generous support and leadership of Magna to establish this new centre and help address the needs of our growing communities,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “This comprehensive skills training campus is instrumental in Conestoga’s efforts to attract broader and more diverse students to trades-based careers and increase capacity to support significant industry demand.”

In addition to infrastructure to support hands-on training delivery through the new centre, the gift from Magna will also support curriculum development and establish scholarships and mentoring opportunities for student and talent development.

Phase two of the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus is expected to open in 2026.

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and the growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices. For more information about the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus, visit the campus website.