The skill requirements in our sector continue to evolve with new technology significantly impacting the human resource requirements. Firms are increasingly dependent on the knowledge of highly trained staff. This means that securing skilled workers to address technological improvements is of prime importance.
Canada has a variety of post-secondary programs teaching wood manufacturing. Many include a Co-operative Education option allowing students to gain valuable work experience concurrent with their studies. Programs range from one-year technical programs, to 2-3 year college diplomas and 4-5 year bachelor degrees (again with some including co-op elements). Graduates possess significant wood processing knowledge, combined with business, marketing and communications skills. Design is also a component of some programs.
College and university programs in advanced wood manufacturing provide you with an in-depth knowledge of wood properties, manufacturing, industrial engineering, business and marketing. Canadian programs give you both theory and experience through co-op work programs.Students in wood products processing programs are finding out that their degrees and diplomas are in high demand. Companies across Canada and around the world are actively pursuing graduates from these programs. In many instances, students are choosing between jobs.
An apprenticeship combines class study with on-the-job training, which gives valuable work experience. On the job, you learn from a qualified tradesperson and you are paid based on your level of skill. Classes are often offered at a community college and some are offered in high schools. You graduate as a Certified Journeyman when you finish your program and meet the industry standards. To become an apprentice, you apply to an employer, union or local apprenticing committee.
WoodLINKS is an industry education partnership championed by representatives from the wood products industry and education and managed by the Wood Manufacturing Council. The WoodLINKS program is taught at the senior high school level and includes curriculum, learning resources and assessment tools for certification to an industry standard. The goal of the WoodLINKS program is to create local sources of high quality entry level workers for employers and at the same time to increase awareness about the exceptional career opportunities that exist in our industry. Click here for a list of schools currently participating in the WoodLINKS program and to find out how your school can become involved. Across the country, more schools are adding WoodLINKS to their list of available programs, and options to offer the program outside of the traditional school setting are being explored. Contact the WMC for more details!