A federal boost of $2 million solidified the ongoing Camosun College and University of Victoria aerospace partnership, while enhancing innovation-focused initiatives at Camosun.
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel visited Camosun’s Interurban campus Thursday for the launch.
“[By investing in state-of-the-art technologies], our government is helping the advanced manufacturing and aerospace sectors grow, while creating a highly qualified workforce for the future, Rempel said.
Among the investments is $527,000 earmarked for the development, commercialization and certification of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), done through UVic’s Centre for Aerospace.
UAVs are regarded as an integral monitoring tool for the growing problem of wildfires in B.C. and around the world, among other opportunities.
“This will advance the application of next-generation UAVs in a wide variety of fields including agriculture, forest fire patrol and search and rescue,” said Dr. David Castle, vice-president of research at UVic.
Camosun will use $1.5 million to create a testing integration lab to support manufacturing. The idea is to provide students with hands-on experience that industry employers are looking for, said Camosun vice-president Tom Roemer, strategic development and enterprise point.
“This way students get a feel of how complex businesses operate,” Roemer said.
“We’ve had employers tell us how our students are extremely well educated but with a narrow focus it takes them up to a year before they understand how a complex business functions, and that’s what we want to simulate here.”
Western Diversification started funding Camosun 10 years ago when it created a long-term innovation strategy in sports innovation and has graduated to tech innovation and engineering.
The project will also contribute to the development of a career hub, which will help promote student recruitment and support interaction with local employers.
Camosun College’s interaction lab will include 3D scanning and digital modeling, computer-assisted manufacturing, 3D printing, composite-materials mould fabrication and lay-up, manufacturing simulation, process monitoring, integrated production and a manufacturing design studio.