Mohawk College looks to supply the industry with skilled technicians through its new program and advanced elevator training facility.
by Lee Freeland
Hamilton, Ontario’s Mohawk College has a new diploma program, “Mechanical Technician — Elevating Devices.” With all 25 modules of EDM-A 636-E apprenticeship embedded within, it offers students advanced laboratory facilities, including a new elevator lab in the G-wing of the Marshall School of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship equipped with two fully functional elevators. Graduates of this integrated technician-apprenticeship program are exempt from all three levels of the in-school training portion of the Elevating Devices Mechanic apprenticeship program. It includes the option of completion in only two academic years (16 months across four continuous semesters).
The college is also training delivery agents for the EDM-A 636-E apprenticeship program with approval to deliver it in all formats, including block, day-release and online, to support the needs of apprentices and industry partners. The intention is to remove barriers for apprentices and support the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s modernization strategy. Your author (LF) spoke with Angelo Cosco (AC), associate dean, construction and building systems, Marshall School of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship at Mohawk.
LF: When and how did the new elevator program begin?
AC: The program is the first of its kind in Canada. It came to be due to the many inquiries and requests, first by parents and students, followed by the urgent need of apprentices and technicians by our industry partners. Up until Mohawk established our own elevator technician training program, students and apprentices from non-union companies across Canada had only one option for training. The 2018 Ontario Ombudsman Report conducted by Retired Justice Douglas Cunningham identified a serious shortage of elevator mechanics in Ontario. With the fact that only one college across the entire country was providing training, Mohawk, along with the elevating-devices industry, recognized the immediate need to provide this necessary training.
Working alongside many industry partners and the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association, we were able to develop and propose a new and exciting program to support and meet the need of not only Ontario, but across Canada and beyond. Our first step was to establish an apprenticeship program. We were the first to offer a number of flexible training models, which included day-release training and a highly desired online model. Our apprenticeship programs provide an additional Ontario College Certificate Credential (the first in Ontario), providing a credential for lifelong learning and laddering for additional credentials, such as diplomas and degrees, in the future. Our apprenticeship program began in August 2019, with both day-release and block-release models. Once we were approved to deliver apprenticeship training, we immediately applied for a postsecondary diploma program, where students would receive a two-year diploma, along with the 25 reportable subjects within the EDM-A 636-E apprenticeship curriculum. Once the students complete this program, they also complete all the in-school apprenticeship training through attestation.
“Our labs are fully fitted and equipped to deliver all aspects of the training, including electrical, electronic, programmable- logic-controller, hydraulics, pneumatics and mechanical, along with advanced theory and lecture rooms, all equipped with the latest technology.”
The program will begin this September and focus on installation, maintenance and servicing elevating devices; regulatory and industry best practices; and an understanding of elevating device electrical, mechanical and hydraulics systems through blended theory classes, both face-to-face and online. Other curriculum components are:
- Mechanical and electrical systems
- The history of elevating devices
- The operation, installation, maintenance and procedures for traction elevators, escalators and moving walks
- Hydraulic systems, including elevator hydraulic systems and installation
- Reading and interpreting engineering drawings
- Machines and circuits, including single-phase circuits, transformers, three-phase electrical systems, elementary control systems and electric machines
- Motors, generators, controls and AC drives
- Lifting devices for individuals with physical disabilities
- Circuit tracing
- Modernization and alterations for elevating devices
LF: Could you explain the optional “CO-OP” experiential learning component?
AC: We believe the college is the first to offer this option.
When students enroll in this program, they can choose to enter the CO-OP stream, where they will experience work-integrated learning and experiential learning, working with industry partners. This CO-OP term is 12 months long and would begin after the student has completed three semesters of the program. Before students enter the CO-OP portion, they will complete the required EDM-T elevator mechanic certification. The industry will have the option to sign these CO-OP students as apprentices, where students will be able to start completing their passports, as the 12 months will count toward their hours of apprenticeship. Once the students complete their CO-OP term, they return for their final semester and complete the program.
LF: What sort of equipment is used, and which kinds of instruction/training are done in the labs?
AC: With the generous support of many industry partners, such as Delta Elevator, Brock Elevator, GAL Canada and Savaria, we have developed an advanced elevator training facility. It includes a functional traction and hydraulic elevator and two construction shafts in which students and apprentices will install both traction and hydraulic elevators per the required learning outcomes. The shafts are open to allow students and apprentices to work with the supervision of our faculty (licensed EDM-A technicians), and fabricate and install shafts, rails and elevator car assemblies.
Our labs are fully fitted and equipped to deliver all aspects of the training, including electrical, electronic, programmable-logic-controller, hydraulics, pneumatics and mechanical, along with advanced theory and lecture rooms, all equipped with the latest technology. All learning outcomes and curricula are delivered per ministry standards.
LF: Is the program affiliated with any organization other than Mohawk? Can you detail the accreditations it has and is seeking?
AC: The program is accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities. It is currently going through the accreditation process with the Technical Standards & Safety Authority. We are members of the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association.
LF: What is the annual student enrollment?
AC: Our apprenticeship program currently enrolls up to 40 level-one apprentices per year, and our postsecondary program has enrolled 80 students (40 of whom are international) for this fall.
LF: Where do graduates go after completing the program? How will they have been prepared?
AC: Graduates from this program would be ready to enter the workforce in the elevator industry as apprentices, with the differentiator of advanced knowledge and experience, having completed the required in-school apprenticeship training, their EDM-T certificate and the valuable 12-month CO-OP experiential industry learning.
Special thanks go out to Alan Bennink, coordinator of the program, for his assistance in explaining the initiative.