According to Cheryl Farrow, CEO of the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), there are three basic pillars that make up the engineering field. They are licensed engineers, technicians and technologists, and skilled trades.
“We can’t be successful without all three of these pillars working together effectively,” Farrow said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. “That’s why, from our perspective, you need certified technicians and technologists, who have proven to be at the highest level of technical, ethical, and professional performance.”
OACETT’s mission is to act as Ontario’s independent certifying body for Engineering and Applied Science technicians and technologists. “We provide member certifications, career-long educational opportunities, and professional support for the benefit of our members, for the benefit of the province’s economy, and for the development of safe and secure communities,” said Farrow.
There are a number of things OACETT does to raise awareness of opportunities in the engineering field. One major activity is the group’s participation in Canada’s National Engineering Month in March. The event will take place virtually in 2021. “That is our opportunity to create some general awareness about this field of practice,” said Farrow.
The organization also works closely with employers. Farrow explained: “That’s where you really do start to see job postings where the certifications that OACETT offers will either be required, or they will be preferred, or they will create an advantage for hiring. And we have also just launched what we’re calling our 360 Partnership Program, which is to help us connect even more with the employer community, get this message out there, and help them to understand the value of hiring certified technicians and technologists.”
In 2021, OACETT plans to launch a government relations strategy. It intends to target specific ministries, and let them know the kind of expertise leaders could draw on from among OACETT’s membership when creating policy.
The education community is another area of focus for the group. “We work very closely with all of Ontario’s community colleges on outreach to their students,” Farrow said. “We even go so far as to embed our exam programs in some of these college curriculums so they sort of have a leg up even into the certification once they finish school and start working. And then we work together with the colleges so that we can start to get the word out, even in high school, to encourage students to explore these fields of study.”
To learn more about OACETT and the work it is doing, listen to the full interview on The POWER Podcast. Follow the links below to subscribe via your favorite platform or click on the SoundCloud player to listen now:
For more power podcasts, visit The POWER Podcast archives.
—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).