Siemens Canada’s Dual Education Program: Building Opportunities for Future Engineers

The labour market challenges facing engineering-degree holders in Ontario are well-known and top of mind for many stakeholders. Experiential learning (co-op programs, internships, and work placements) are correctly viewed as bridging the theoretical and technical knowledge that students gain in the classroom with hands-on experience needed to enter the workforce.

As OSPE identified in its recent submission to the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy Expert Panel, the benefits of participating in a co-op program are real and many for both students and their employers. The 2013 National Graduate Survey found that bachelor’s degree-holders who completed a co-op program were – in comparison to their non-co-op counterparts – more likely to report being employed in a job related to their education with higher earnings.

Siemens Canada understands these challenges, but also recognizes the importance of investing in the current and future generations of engineers and engineering technologists through Siemens Canada’s Engineering and Technology Academy (SCETA).

Murad
Tom Murad, Ph.D., P.Eng., FEC, SM.IEEE
Head of Siemens Canada’s Engineering and Technology Academic (SCETA). Murad is responsible for the vision and overall business management of SCETA and associated programs.

With over 35 years of experience in professional engineering and technical operations executive management, the Academy is led by Dr. Tom Murad, Ph.D., P.Eng., FEC, SM.IEEE, whose passion for engineering and education is unmistakable and infectious. The Academy provides students and Siemens’ engineers with the educational and professional development opportunities required to build successful engineering careers.

“At Siemens Canada, we believe that the main contributor to innovation is our people,” Dr. Murad explains. “The spirit of innovation was embedded in Siemens from day one. This spirit has made Siemens a global leader.”

In partnership with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), and with funding from the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada, the Dual Education Program is an innovative, pilot program that provides engineering and engineering technology students with the opportunity to ‘earn as they learn.

Students participate in the program during their last two years of study, working as Siemens Canada employees for two four-month sessions, earning a full-time salary, with the additional advantage of having their last two years of tuition paid by Siemens. Upon graduation, select students are offered full-time employment in one of Siemens Canada’s nine divisions.

Dr. Murad underscores that the culture of education is not unique to Siemens Canada, but a hallmark of Siemens and the value it places on investing in its employees around the world through training and talent development.

McMaster University, Mohawk College, the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) currently participate in the Academy.

This enhanced skills training and career-start program provides a mix of theory and practical experience that complements the post-secondary curriculum students receive. “What we are looking for are students with an ability to innovate and contribute to both Siemens and the world,” Dr. Murad states.

Siemens
Dr. Murad (far right) with members of the 2015 and 2016 SCETA student cohorts

When asked how he feels about the importance of work integrated learning opportunities for students, Dr. Murad is resolute. “Industry is behind in recognizing the importance of building its resources and in taking action… it’s too late to debate the importance of co-ops. Instead, there needs to be a focus on the quality of co-op programs that students participate in.

We [industry] have a responsibility towards the next generation. If we don’t prepare them to be good engineers, we won’t have skilled people running our industries, hospitals, etc.”

As a third generation engineer, Dr. Murad says he was born to be one. He advises engineering students to never give up, overcome challenges, think outside the box, and always be hungry for knowledge. “Knowledge is the best fortune anyone can have.”

He adds that “being an engineer requires a special skillset – logic, innovation, and problem-solving. To me, it’s a way of life and a way of thinking. You also need to have that fire inside you – to contribute to the field.”

The next recruitment period for the Dual Education Program is September 2016 to January 2017 for classes commencing in May 2017. To learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply, click here.

Want to hear students’ experiences in the Academy? Click here.

Stay tuned for an extended article on the Dual Education Program in the upcoming September issue of OSPE’s The Voice magazine.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Based on my 21 years of experience in engineering and project management, the dual education program of Siemens Canada is one of the best programs I have ever learned about for engineering students. The old fashion of engineering programs is when engineers learn and gain their experience after they graduate, but this program gives the opportunity to engineering students to explore the actual engineering experience while they are still in school. Hands on experience and innovation are vital for the success of every engineer, and this programs provides the two aspects.
    I wish Siemens Canada and Dr. Tom Murad the best of luck with this venture and with achieving the objectives of this remarkable program.

  2. Dear Sir/Madam,
    May I learn , is education in Siemens Canada’s Engineering and Technology Academy (SCETA), only for students or every engineers?
    Thanks, best regards

    M.Eraslan

    1. Hello M. Eraslan – thank you for your question. The Siemens Canada Engineering and Technology Academy (SCETA) Dual Education Program is catered to current engineering and engineering technology students. You can consider reaching out to Siemens Canada directly for more information on the program, eligibility requirements and other potential opportunities. Depending on your current needs, OSPE also offers a variety of courses and workshops that you may find helpful, from professional development to sector-specific learning. You can find out more here. Please feel free to reach out with any further questions. Thank you!

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