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Georgian receives $500,000 to inspire a new generation for the automotive electrification industry

NEWS RELEASE: Georgian College: Georgian College, in partnership with the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) and Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board (BGCDSB), is inspiring a new generation to build careers in the emerging automotive electrification industry thanks to a grant of $500,000 from Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network’s Regional Future Workforce Program.

left to right: Mira Ray, Executive Director, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Kevin Weaver, President and CEO, Georgian CollegeDoug Downey, MPP – (Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte)and Theresa Watt, Technological Education Facilitator, Renewal & Sustainability.
Photo supplied by Georgian College

Rob Theriault, the college’s immersive technology manager, is the technical lead for the new programming that will be developed for more than 1,000 students.

“We’re transitioning from the information age to the experiential age in education and Georgian has become one of the world leaders in the exploration and integration of immersive learning and artificial intelligence,” said Theriault.

Immersive learning using extended reality — which includes augmented reality and virtual reality programming — will be leveraged for students to learn the basic principles of electric vehicle operation, the benefits and challenges of electric vehicles, and the various career opportunities available in the automotive and autonomous mobility sector.

“At Georgian, we’re committed to optimizing the learning environment including expanded use of immersive technology,” said Kevin Weaver, president and CEO, Georgian College. “We’re grateful to the Ontario Centre of Innovation for awarding funding to our innovative project that will allow us to introduce this technology and the careers it will create to our future workforce.”

The grant is administered by the Ontario Centre of Innovation on behalf of the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

“Our changing markets require an education system that can help keep students at the forefront of technology,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “This funding will help students gain necessary tools and skills to pursue in-demand jobs within the automotive sector, and help shape the future of green vehicles.”

Starting this fall at Georgian, up to 200 post-secondary students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of electric vehicle design using virtual reality. In addition, 1,000 students in grades 10 through 12 across the Simcoe and Bruce-Grey regions will have the opportunity to gain awareness and knowledge about the sector.

Georgian partners SCDSB and BGCDSB are excited to bring this programming to their students.

“We are proud at Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board to continue to work in partnership with Georgian College on this exciting and innovative learning opportunity for our students,” said Gary O’Donnell, director of education. “Working in community and in partnership we are able to provide our students with connections and knowledge about emerging sectors of the economy.”

Theresa Watt, technological education facilitator, renewal and sustainability at SCDSB, said, “We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Georgian College to provide this engaging experience for our students. Access to this extended reality platform will allow students the opportunity to explore various aspects of electric vehicles in hopes of sparking interest in the growing electric mobility sector.”

Collaborating with UP360, a team of game developers, storytellers, artists, and technologists dedicated to pushing the boundaries of learning and virtual reality, and working alongside partners like the Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd. will help create this unique and captivating learning experience.

Georgian believes that using cutting-edge learning technologies will excite, inspire and better prepare students for new careers in the electric vehicle and autonomous mobility sector.