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Alix students get opportunity to check out STEM careers

There is a shortage of STEM professionals in Canada

Some students from Alix-MAC school had the opportunity to check out potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM.

The 14 students travelled to Edmonton to take part in a STEM Camp at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) presented by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET). 

"The day camps give students a hands-on introduction to engineering technology: a profession that offers a wide range of well-remunerated career opportunities for those considering post-secondary education options," notes the release announcing the student participation.

Taking place in NAIT's industrial instruments lab, the focus of the May 30 camp day was instrumentation. Instrumentation is one of 21 engineering technology disciplines.

The day was split into two sessions, a morning and an afternoon.

In the morning session, students had the opportunity to work on a "level measurement and control system," learning the principles of operation, completing electrical and pneumatic connections and using math to predict tank levels. The students also had the opportunity to configure and test the controller for the tank using software and test it in both manual and automatic mode.

In the afternoon session, students created a weather station, to which a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) device was added. 

"A remote sensing technology familiar to engineering technologists, LIDAR measures ranges, employing high-powered lasers and light energy," notes the release.

"Students were given the opportunity to apply it in a controlled, practical setting while working with industrial grade equipment."

Between sessions, the students learned about the diverse range of opportunities in the engineering technology profession, which is separate from the engineering profession.

"According to the Government of Canada website, this nation has become a world leader in STEM fields, and many emerging jobs and career opportunities are STEM-related," continues the release.

"It forecasts that as more businesses and organizations look to innovate, modernize and grow, the demand for professionals who can fill STEM-related jobs will increase."

According to the C.D. Howe Institute, due to the aging population and ever-increasing move to the digital space, Canada is facing a significant digital and STEM skills shortage across the nation. 

“We know that market demand for STEM-related skills is here to stay and destined to grow exponentially in the years ahead,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh.

“Young or old, any professional equipped with an engineering technology diploma and the requisite skills is ready to take on the world. The  ASET STEM Camp Series day camps give Alberta youth the strategic advantage of early exposure to a fulfilling career with a secure future.”

According to a 2022 ASET survey, instrumentation engineering technologists beginning their careers could look forward to a starting salary of around $66,500 per year.

These technologists-in-training (TTs) typically have engineering technology diplomas, are registered with ASET and are graduates of a polytechnic or technical college. 

ASET has been partnering with school boards to develop outreach activities, such as these camps, in partnership with the polytechnics and secondary schools.



Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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