Industry and community friends and partners, students and employees joined the celebration as Conestoga marked the grand opening of its new Skilled Trades campus in Cambridge at a special event held November 1.
Located at 25 Reuter Drive next to highway 401, the first phase of the campus features a 322,000 sq ft building with more than 150,000 sq ft of shops and labs, designed and equipped to meet the unique requirements of trades education and training.
“Conestoga has always been committed to exceptional skilled trades training - this building is a testament to that - and we are all proud to be part of this commitment,” said Suzanne Moyer, dean, Trades & Apprenticeship. “Thank you for attending our grand opening today and for your support of Conestoga and our efforts to address the province’s critical need for skilled trades workers.”
Phase 1 of the campus opened to students in 2022. When fully realized, the campus will include multiple buildings across the 41-acre property, which will serve as home to all the college's skilled trades programs and help position Conestoga as Canada's premier destination for skilled trades education and training. When completed, it will be the largest, most modern trades training facility in the country and serve as a showcase for the skilled trades.
“We have shaped this building with the hope that it will shape the future of skilled trades,” added Moyer. “It is our goal to help address the skilled trades shortage by providing in-school training for thousands of apprentices and future tradespeople. We are working to attract a more diverse group of students into the skilled trades with the offering of pre-apprenticeship training, exploratory programming, dual credit training for high school students, and continuing to offer our women in skilled trades program, as well as working to attract more international students to the skilled trades.”
The campus has been designed to provide an abundance of natural light, and its large shops support the practical nature of the skills taught in them. Glazing offers a window into the shops to provide a visual understanding of the training that takes place and the complexity and variety of skills students learn. The campus also features several social spaces where students can socialize or collaborate on class work. An event space supports gatherings as well as job fairs, awards ceremonies conferences and trade events.
“Thank you again to all of you -- our donors, award sponsors, program advisory committee members, mentors, and employment partners -- for your support of student and graduate success as we continue to work together to build a more prosperous future for the communities we serve,” said Tony Thoma, executive dean, Engineering, Technology, Trades & Apprenticeships. “Your contributions are instrumental in ensuring Conestoga students are learning in facilities equipped to today’s industry standards, that programs are aligned to current and emerging needs, and that opportunities exist for experiential and work-integrated learning.”
During his remarks President Tibbits commented on the urgent need for skilled trades workers and thanked those who supported Phase 1 of the campus and the college’s goal of raising the profile of trades training: The Cowan Foundation, Hunter Steel Sales Limited, ATS Automation, Eclipse Automation Part of Accenture, Magna International, Ray Tanguay, Gene Haas Foundation, Mitutoyo Canada, DEWALT | Stanley Black & Decker, and Milwaukee Tool.
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 post-secondary trades 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, visit the School of Trades and Apprenticeship.