Canadian Manufacturing

NGen’s Careers of the Future site to grow interest in advanced manufacturing careers

According to NGen’s research, young people still overwhelmingly have manufacturing ideas that are 40-50 years out of date; seeing it as repetitive work, assembly line labour, and manual in nature.

May 25, 2021  by Sadi Muktadir

PHOTO: Manufacturing/Getty Images

It is no secret that Canadian manufacturers are having a hard time securing top talent. On May 13th, NGen launched its Careers of the Future website, to increase interest in advanced manufacturing careers. The website aims to motivate students to explore advanced manufacturing careers by applying for 1 of 10 bursaries valued at $10,000 each.

When asked about how and why the idea for the bursary program came to be, Jayson Myers, CEO of NGen was clear.

“It’s clear there are challenges in the sector in securing talent that will become even more critical in the future. 25% of today’s workforce in manufacturing will be of retirement age by 2030. This 25% is over the age of 55. At the same time, people coming into manufacturing under the age of 25 only account for 5% of the manufacturing workforce, so these people are not being replaced.”

As technologies change and the industry evolves, manufacturing is finding itself competing with many other industries for talent with digital skills. In a scenario like this, advocacy for manufacturing is needed, according to Jayson Myers.

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Advanced manufacturers are increasingly responding to these ‘talent shortage’ challenges in two different ways. One, manufacturers are automating and exploring new technologies to remain competitive. And second, as a result of automation, an advanced workforce with digital skills that can operate these systems are being hired, and will continue needing to be hired.

One positive side-effect of these talent challenges has been a more diverse workforce, according to Jayson Myers.

“Over half of the new employees joining the manufacturing sector are now young women.”

Part of the advocacy in growing support for advanced manufacturing means battling out-dated notions of what advanced manufacturing actually is.

According to NGen’s research, young people still overwhelmingly have manufacturing ideas that are 40-50 years out of date; seeing it as repetitive work, assembly line labour, and manual in nature.

NGen is trying to tell young people that advanced manufacturing ‘can change the world by making things that address global challenges.’

With that idea in mind, NGen’s Careers of the Future team is hoping to see bursary applications that address these global challenges, but are also curious about what young people think are the global challenges that can be solved through manufacturing. NGen listed issues including water and food scarcity, climate change, health, transportation and mobility, housing and infrastructure issues in urban environments as some of the global challenges they would love to see addressed.

The big question NGen is hoping to see addressed is ‘how do you add value in the future through advanced manufacturing?’

The contest runs to June 2, 2021 and is open to legal residents of Canada who are between the ages of 15-18 at the time of entry, and planning to enter post-secondary education within 24 months of entering the contest.


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