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The fourth industrial revolution is officially underway, and its effect on the economy and the world of work is proving to be profound. Industry 4.0, as the process is commonly known, is the current trend of automation and the utilization of data in advanced manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as cloud and cognitive computing.

With the opening of its new Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) at its Newnham Campus in Toronto, Seneca College is advancing its leadership position in training students to adapt and succeed in Industry 4.0. “CITE will bring a variety of technology and business programs together under one roof, including applied research and a suite of mechanical engineering programs,” says Seneca president David Agnew.

It is the kind of place where you can actually be doing what everybody is talking about.

David Agnew, president of Seneca College

In addition to highly specialized training, CITE will also focus on research and innovation with industry partners, and serve as an accelerator for both student and industry-led entrepreneurial activities. “It is the kind of place where you can actually be doing what everybody is talking about,” says Mr. Agnew.

The space will include classrooms, labs and a presentation gallery incorporating a unique Indigenous design as well. “It’s also designed to allow students to acquire in a hands-on way both hard and soft skills in an interdisciplinary environment that will enhance their communication skills and ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams, which are very common today in both business and industry,” says Mr. Agnew.

The development of CITE and its programs has been shaped by the current and future needs of industry, he adds. “Our industry program advisers have been an important part of the process.” One of those advisers and partners is KUKA Canada, a world leader in advanced manufacturing and intelligent automation, which is providing Seneca students with state-of-the-art robotic equipment to enhance their manufacturing skills.

“Robotics has become a fundamental component of the modern manufacturing process, and this partnership will allow us to extend our offerings in this important field,” says Mr. Agnew.

“It’s the kind of partnership that’s not only good for students and industry but for Canada,” says Ed Manera, KUKA’s VP sales. “The area of robotics is extremely important; if we don’t automate and become more efficient as a country, we won’t be able to compete.”

KUKA and Seneca share a vision when it comes to education, says Mr. Manera. “We want to help graduates develop the skills they need to succeed, and graduates from these kinds of programs are in high demand.”

According to Mr. Agnew, Seneca plans to continue to strive to attract a wide range partners to collaborate at CITE and expand the range of opportunities and benefits for students, the community and the country.

“The invitation is out for small and medium-sized enterprises to come in and test ideas and commercialize concepts because we want this to be their place too,” says Mr. Agnew. “Applied research represents a very important learning experience for our students, and is also a great way to bring our faculty’s expertise into play.”

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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