February 1, 2012
The Take Back Manufacturing (TBM) initiative, introduced last fall by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Toronto Chapter 26 at the CMTS (Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show), is intended to become the catalyst for next-generation job creation.
Endorsing this initiative, the SME Education Foundation has funded $15,000 to the SME Toronto Chapter to develop processes and tools to promote advanced manufacturing engineering careers for Canadian students and assist the Canadian workforce to enhance their knowledge and skills.
According to the SME Education Foundation, a new forum composed of Canadian technical societies, management associations, trade organizations, and educational stakeholders is redefining current perceptions of manufacturing. As an industry, manufacturing needs to be the center for skill and excellence, embracing the latest in advanced technologies. The TBM forum is working to secure support for the creation of a highly educated and highly trained workforce with world-class skills and experience at all levels.
This year TBM will work with local governments on tax, trade, and education policies, followed by design of an aggressive plan that will provide industry with a roadmap and tools to create a new and strong infrastructure for career development.
In a global marketplace, collaboration is now critical as government, industry, and educators have come to realize their challenges are essentially the same, and solutions for resolving workforce development issues more effective when ideas and approaches are shared.
“Last fall we set the course for workforce development with the launch of PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education). The SME Toronto Chapter’s TBM initiative is well-aligned. We have much to share and much to learn, but the good news is that now we’re all on the same page,” said SME Education Foundation CEO Bart A. Aslin.
Nigel Southway, a manufacturing consultant, engineer, and author of a textbook on time-based business productivity improvement, is 2012 chair for the SME Toronto Chapter.
“Manufacturing is not going to come back to North America until we take it back,” said Southway. “Our Canadian manufacturing industry has suffered greatly over the past 30 years, all due to our inability to innovate the next generation of Canadian-made products and services. This is mainly the result of an uncontrolled global economy, resultant outsourcing, an escalated high Canadian dollar, and the apathetic capital and infrastructural investments in Canadian manufacturing. These factors have led to severe job losses at all stratas of the manufacturing environment.”
According to Statistics Canada, more than 322,000 jobs were lost between 2004 and 2008. In December 2011, manufacturing employment continued to decline, by 7,300 jobs, following losses of 48,000 in October (mostly in Ontario) out of a national total of 54,000.
“We are fighting back with our Take Back Manufacturing initiative. This is about manufacturing in Ontario. Job losses have damaged our prosperity and our ability to balance imports and exports. We need to secure the future of the manufacturing sectors by having one voice and one agenda,” said Southway.
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