Engineering and electronics company Siemans Canada is partnering with London, Ontario’s Fanshawe College to give its students access to leading-edge design software used by NASA on the Mars Rover. The $248 million in-kind grant will see students of Fanshawe’s School of Applied Science and Technology use the software for courses and research which will help them to get a leg up on the competition by providing access to the tools before they even hit the job market.
“This investment by Siemens PLM Software will help us unlock the potential of our engineering students, ensuring they are well prepared for relevant and rewarding careers upon graduation,” says Fanshawe President Peter Devlin in a statement. “We thank Siemens for their support of Fanshawe College.”
The grant includes Siemens’ NX software, used for design, manufacturing and engineering, and its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software which is reportedly used by 29 of the world’s top 30 automakers and over 77,000 businesses worldwide, including London’s own General Dynamics Land Systems, makers of light armoured vehicles.
“Fanshawe has a history of producing great engineering students and we want to give them the tools that will enable them to be as creative and as successful in their corporate lives when they graduate and become leaders in industry,” said Brian Mori, president and CEO of Siemens Industry Software.
Siemens PLM has granted its software to other institutions including Western University. Fanshawe says that the software will be put to use immediately by 20 of its engineering students in a program with capacity for 150.
City of London mayor Matt Brown was at the grant announcement and said the donation will ensure that Fanshawe’s programs meet up with industry standards. Brown stated that 85 per cent of Fanshawe grads get work in the London area. “When the college grows, our community grows as well,” said Brown to the London Free Press.
A new report commissioned by Colleges Ontario, an advocacy group representing public colleges in the province, states that Ontario colleges will be hard-pressed to stay afloat over the upcoming decade which will see marked declines in enrolment due to demographic shifts.
The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers maintains that all colleges but especially those outside of care urban markets will have to make cuts to staff, increase tuition, put more courses and programs online and get more funding from the government in order to survive.
“[In] the absence of creative actions on the part of colleges and policy makers to address the future fiscal sustainability of the Ontario college sector, the core mandate of colleges appears to be in jeopardy,” the report states, as detailed in the Globe and Mail.
Part of an effort to lobby the government for more support, the report says that the colleges won’t be able to secure the needed funding from tuition increases alone – in the short term, at least, as the province has capped tuition hikes at three per cent a year for the next three years.
In December, provincial minister of advanced education and skills development Deb Matthews announced its new approach to funding post-secondaries in Ontario, which along with the tuition cap will see free tuition for low-income students, all part of the government’s plan to provide residents with greater access to education.“The number one (impact) is access . . . people across the country and beyond are looking at what we are doing in Ontario on the access side — we are already really, really good, but this takes us to a whole new level where every single person in this province can actually afford to go,” said Deb Matthews to the Toronto Star.