By CRAIG GILBERT
Companies that hire graduates of Cambrian College’s nationally accredited engineering programs know they are getting employees with skills recognized all over the country.
What they probably don’t know is that Cambrian was the first to have a program earn such distinction in over 20 years.
In 1982, accreditation ceased in Ontario, when the provincial government initiated a policy disallowing external accreditation of community college programs unless it was a requirement for employment of graduates, according to John Hood, dean of Cambrian‚ school of computer and engineering technology.
In early 1999, the Ministry of Edu-cation agreed to let Cambrian have the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) conduct a pilot accreditation review of its Mining and Geology Engineering Technology programs.
A team reviewed the programs using the Canadian Technology Standards and the Ontario provincial standards for general education and generic skills.
The review determined that the programs met the requirements of both standards.
In 2002, the province created a new Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act that opened up the opportunity for colleges to seek
external accreditation. Cambrian immediately applied to OACETT to have its Civil Engineering Technology program accredited.
National accreditation involves measuring a program against the Canadian Technology Standards. It begins with an application to the applicable Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) provincial association. The provincial association notifies the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB), a CCTT committee.
“It was mainly a matter of collecting material that was already there,” Hood says. “We had to beef up our technical reports, but that was about it.”
To illustrate the point, he travels across his office to a corner where three cabinets, three feet wide and seven feet tall, house literally scores of one-inch binders.
“This is all the documentation for the Civil Engineering program.”
The college’s Geology Engineering Technology, Mining Engineering Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Instrumentation Engineering Technology programs have also achieved national accreditation from CTAB.
Graduates of certified programs have the advantage of being backed up by a standard recognized as among the highest on the globe, says Hood.
These graduates are more employable throughout the world, and it is easier to get a work visa for the United States with membership in an association such as OACETT, according to Hood.