OPG renews financial partnership with Durham College and Ontario Tech

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Published October 21, 2021 at 10:07 am

Recruiting the best and brightest graduates in the skilled trades and in science and technology has always been the goal of Ontario Power Generation.

Thanks to a decade-long collaboration with Durham College and Ontario Tech University, OPG, which operates Durham’s two nuclear plants and is responsible for about half of Ontario’s electricity generation, can conveniently find those graduates close to home.

OPG and the two Oshawa post-secondary institutions signed on for another five-year partnership this week, with the power generating giant donating $1 million a year to recruit and retain students—including those currently under-represented in the industry, such as women and Indigenous people—for the energy sector in skilled trades, science, engineering and technology. Much of this will focus on technology development in the energy sector for climate change initiatives, including:

  • Electrification, particularly in the transportation sector
  • New nuclear, including small modular reactors
  • Renewable generation projects

“It’s important for us to invest in the next generation of talent to help power Ontario’s energy workforce,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG president and CEO. “This is a dynamic time for the energy industry, as we move toward electrification and efficient economy-wide decarbonization. We know this partnership will ensure the right people with the right skills are ready to be the generation to power the future to meet Ontario’s increasing electricity needs.”

The partnership also focuses on research and development to support OPG’s Climate Change Plan, as well as digital and data innovation including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, augmented and virtual reality.

“Ontario Tech University deeply values its foundational partnership with OPG, whose investment in our innovative programs and high-tech research infrastructure helps prepare career-ready graduates who excel in the changing energy landscape,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, president and vice-chancellor, Ontario Tech University. “The partnership has always been a natural fit, with energy making up the university’s greatest applied research strength. We look forward to charting a bold energy future for Canada with OPG in the years to come.”

The three partners have long collaborated to meet the need for career-ready energy sector workers and provide training opportunities to OPG employees to build skills through industry-related college and university programs.

A recent donation through OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability supported construction of DC’s new Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology at its Whitby campus and highlights OPG’s ongoing commitment to the development of skilled trades and training.

OPG has also worked with Ontario Tech to assist the university in establishing industry-responsive and market-driven academic programs, including micro-credentials and upskilling opportunities.

“As a leader in post-secondary trades and technology education, we are preparing our students to be career-ready as they pursue a future in highly specialized sectors that are facing a critical labour shortage,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “Continuing our partnership with OPG will support innovative capital projects that enhance our training facilities, as well as provide vital financial support for traditionally underrepresented groups in skilled trades, technology and science careers.”

Under the terms of the renewed partnership, the college and university will work together on the implementation of bridging programs between the two institutions to produce graduates with a greater range of technical skills and knowledge.

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