OPG partners with Durham College and UOIT Print

Ontario Power Generation has announced a new investment in two Oshawa-based post-secondary institutions.

Building on a successful, five-year collaborative partnership with Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced Friday a $5-million investment over the next five years in the college and university.

The partnership, originally formed in November 2005, was established to enable all three organizations to work together toward the effective education and training of employees for the Canadian nuclear sector, and to meet the needs of OPG for a new generation of energy specialists to support their nuclear operations and projects. In addition, the investment will add value to the communities of Durham Region and Ontario, in the form of quality education facilities.

"OPG has a responsibility to the people of Ontario to deliver safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity generation today and in the future," said Tom Mitchell, OPG president and CEO. "Our future nuclear projects, like the refurbishment of Darlington, will be important contributors to the electricity supply for homes and businesses across Ontario. The investment ensures we will have skilled and highly-trained people to do this. OPG is committed to leadership in our communities. The world-class educational program and research opportunities created through this partnership provide benefits to the economy and social development of Durham Region and Ontario.

The funding, to be provided in annual installments over a five-year period, will be used toward capital support for Durham College and support for educational programs, research, equipment and bursaries and scholarships at both Durham College and UOIT.

"At Durham College we are training the energy leaders of tomorrow through our numerous power and energy-focused programs," said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. "OPG's continued financial investment will enable us to provide job-ready graduates who are able to meet the operations and maintenance requirements of today's nuclear industry. In addition, it will enable us to offer our students access to training enhancements such as advanced standing in OPG's nuclear training program and financial support through the introduction of new scholarships and bursaries, helping to remove barriers for students in financial need."

Durham College will continue to work with OPG to review, enhance and maintain the curriculum of its power and energy programs in order to fulfill the need for future operator personnel. UOIT will continue to provide industry-ready graduates able to meet the employment demand of the nuclear industry over the next 10 to 15 years including working with OPG on the development of curriculum for its suite of undergraduate and post-graduate Nuclear Engineering programs. UOIT will also provide OPG with access to its world-class centres of research and research commercialization expertise, enabling OPG to pursue research related to the refurbishment of nuclear centres and next-generation nuclear technologies.

The college and university will continue to work together to develop academic bridging programs designed to facilitate the direct entry of college graduates into university degree programs focused on the nuclear field.

"Durham Region has the potential to be Canada's nuclear energy capital and UOIT is a strong partner in helping to realize this vision," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president, UOIT.

"OPG's renewed commitment will help UOIT build upon its mandate to provide unique, market-oriented degree programs, which include Canada's only undergraduate degree in Nuclear Engineering. It will also support our comprehensive energy research portfolio and allow for more commercialization opportunities," added Dr. Bordessa. "Our partnership with OPG has helped foster UOIT's growing reputation for turning out highly-skilled, career-ready graduates and demonstrating leadership in the delivery of innovative bridging programs whereby college graduates enter UOIT degree programs with advanced standing. Offered by the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, our Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Nuclear Power is a prime example of how UOIT is developing graduates with a great range of employability skills and knowledge for key employers like OPG.

The $5-million investment in the college and university, both located in Durham Region where OPG's nuclear facilities are located, will also provide OPG with access to state-of-the art laboratories and classrooms for employees looking to further their training as well as a venue for discussing skilled trades and technical, engineering and nuclear science education and training.

A key to the success of the partnership so far is the partnership committee, whose membership includes senior OPG representatives working closely with deans and professors from the college and university. The committee meets on a regular basis to determine the many ways that all three institutions can work together; providing input into the curriculum and adding further value to the partnership through industry experience. Today's investment continues to build on the committee's success.