Advanced manufacturing is essential to the Transportation industry in Canada. Whether it is automotive, aerospace, or marine, these highly technical sectors are constantly evolving and require workers who are trained in the latest manufacturing techniques and technologies.
The transportation manufacturing sector was steadily declining in terms of sales during the early 2000’s. That market is now starting to rise again and the employment outlook is good. Transportation related employment in the advanced manufacturing field is as wide and varied as the field itself. Careers in this area include marine engineering and management, aircraft maintenance, aerospace manufacturing, aviation technology and management, and many more.
Andrea Lucano is the Instructor of Marine Studies and Power Engineering at Georgian College in Owen Sound, Ontario. She started in the marine program in 2009, earning her 4th class engineering license in 2012. She did her sea time for the program with a cruise line and then after obtaining her license, she continued to work with the cruise lines until the end of 2014. She is now an instructor at her alma mater and also works for the Centre of Marine Training and Research which provides Marine Emergency Duties training for cadets and seafarers.
“I had worked on the cruise lines for a few years, when I finally meet a female engineer,” Lucano recounts. “I started hanging out with her and her colleagues, and they were always talking shop. I asked for a tour of the engine room, and immediately being down in that machinery space, I knew that this was the type of work I wanted to do. Hands on trouble shooting and maintaining big engines and auxiliary equipment, I was like a kid in a candy store.”
Personality traits that can contribute to a successful career in transportation manufacturing include a sound mathematical background, an eye for detail, a desire to follow established procedures, critical thinking, strong communication skills and an interest and aptitude for technology.
Government of Canada statistics state total revenues from the transportation manufacturing industry were $135.4 billion in 2017, making up a vast portion of the country’s total revenue. The most recent information specifically regarding the marine industry is from 2014 and credits the Marine Sector with generating over $3.1billion in sale revenues and 11,100 direct full time jobs.
“It contributes to the economy in many different ways, through the variety of vessels that employ seafarers. There are cargo vessels, tankers, ferries, Coast Guard, cruise vessels. It not only provides employment, but a means for transporting goods throughout Canada and the world. There are also those with marine engineering backgrounds that are now utilizing their skills within the offices of the shipping companies to help strengthen the companies and their objectives,” explains Lucano.
Colleges and institutes in Canada have their fingers on the pulse of the industry and are able to offer training with the latest in equipment and techniques.
“At Georgian College, where I was a graduate of the Marine Engineering program and now teach, we prepare the students with in-class study combined with practical labs. Students work in simulators where they learn how the different systems work as a whole and how to troubleshoot problems that may arise. In the workshops they get hands on experience taking machinery apart, seeing how it works and reassembling for operation,” says Lucano. “There are specific safety certifications that they must acquire so that they are aware of the potential safety hazards while onboard and how to be part of the solution to ensure their safety, the safety of their fellow crew members and the safety of the vessel. The students also have to go out on sea terms, where they get to experience first-hand life onboard. They must complete projects while onboard that shows their understanding of the multitude of systems. With all this, the students learn how to communicate, which is essential in the marine industry, as it is a world-wide industry, and at any given time you could be working on a vessel that has multiple nationalities, and you have to find a way of understanding each other to get the job at hand done, safely.”
The aerospace industry encompasses the development and production of aircraft, rockets, satellites and related component parts. It is also a major contributor to Canada’s economy and accounts for a large portion of trade with foreign markets, while employing tens of thousands of the country’s citizens.
Advanced manufacturing techniques not only keep Canada competitive in the global market, they can also help reach our goals of reducing emissions. Lucano states, “Advanced manufacturing can lead to more efficient machinery with less fuel cost and consumption, which in turn leads to stronger safety and environmental protocols.”
Advanced transportation manufacturing is a growing industry in Canada. Students who may be interested in a career in the field need only look to a college or institute for help in obtaining that goal.
By Jackie Fritz