Manufacturing advisory group donates CNC training equipment to B.C. high school

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The British Columbia Metal Working Advisory Group (BCMMAG), a group of B.C.-based manufacturing companies, suppliers, and educators, has raised enough capital through its fundraising work to be able to purchase and donate a Haas Desktop Mill to Byrne Creek Secondary, Burnaby, B.C.

The group responsible for this donation was led by Udo Jahn, general manager, Modern Engineering, Delta, B.C.; Courtenay Rimaldi, precision metal instructor, École Mission Senior Secondary School, Mission, B.C.; and Paul Krainer, president, Thomas Skinner, Richmond, B.C.

The BCMMAG is trying to increase students’ interest in CNC machining technology through learning initiatives at local high schools with the goals of driving interest in the machining trades and reducing the manufacturing skills gap in the province. Manufacturing is B.C.’s fourth largest sector, as expressed as a percentage of GDP.

“There is a window of opportunity now to tackle our biggest challenge, which is the skilled-trades gap,” said Jahn. “We need to come together as a country to get people into our industry’s workforce.”

The group’s partners include the Construction Foundation of B.C., Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) Network, the Gene Haas Foundation, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Autodesk and its authorized Canadian reseller (LeeVerage Integration), representatives from the B.C. Technology Education Association, as well as a group of lower mainland and regional area manufacturing companies.

The BCMMAG is trying to get high schools throughout B.C. to begin teaching students about CNC machining technology.

“We have not yet received the attention of the provincial government; however, we have begun to raise the interest of the high schools with help from BCIT and the Construction Foundation of B.C. My goal is to take this success to the other provinces of Western Canada,” said Krainer.

The group hopes that introducing students to CNC machining technology in high school will lead to further interest in advanced manufacturing technologies, such as AI, augmented reality, generative design, and additive manufacturing.

“If we can do this in B.C., we can do this in the rest of Canada,” said Jahn. “But we need parents and teachers to start to understand that we are a high-tech industry with interesting, high-paying jobs. That starts with an introduction to CNC.”