ASET helps address rising need for STEM professionals through junior high/high school outreach
16, Mar, 2023
EDMONTON, March 16, 2023 – The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) is doing its part to help address a nationally recognized rise in the need for skilled STEM professionals. ASET’s recently introduced STEM Camp Series, which gives junior high and high school students hands-on exposure to the exciting and diverse engineering technology profession, is presenting a new day camp at NAIT this Saturday, March 18. The series was piloted last November.
Two studies have highlighted the urgency of attracting more people to STEM careers, including youth poised to enter post-secondary education. A report by Statistics Canada last April about 2021 Census results revealed that one in five Canadians is nearing retirement, which will create labour shortages and challenges for Canadian companies and businesses. It also found that Alberta is one of only three Canadian provinces where children under the age of 15 still outnumber people aged 65 and older. Alberta leads the other two provinces in this with its youth a vital future resource.
Last summer, the C.D. Howe Institute released a report called The Knowledge Gap, which indicated that Canada faces a significant digital and STEM skills shortage due to the aging population and rapid digitalization across the economy - a reality further intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unresolved, these skill shortages will have a negative impact on Canadian businesses and the economy. One of the report’s recommendations was to increase STEM enrolment and graduation numbers by raising students’ performance in STEM subjects.
This Saturday’s ASET STEM Camp Series day camp will involve 16 students from Edmonton Catholic Schools who will participate in workshops familiarizing them with what it is like to work as an electrical engineering technologist and mechanical engineering technologist. As part of the electrical engineering technology workshop, students will be given the chance to produce a miniature version of a motor control circuit (a control circuit ensures that the motor is started and stopped in a safe manner), which is ultimately employed to control a model crane.
The second workshop, mechanical engineering technology, will teach students to build the model crane for which the motor control circuit is devised. Students will be instructed in computer-aided design (CAD), using 3D printing for manufacturing the crane and CAD for assembly of it.
In between workshops, students will learn about the difference between the engineering technology and engineering professions, and the many disciplines and occupations that exist within engineering technology.
“Given the economic realities outlined in the Statistics Canada and C.D. Howe Institute reports, there are compelling reasons for ASET to broaden its junior high and high school outreach and give youth practical exposure to careers in engineering technology,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “ASET’s STEM Camp Series is designed to open a window to a whole new world of post-secondary possibilities, and encourage youth to develop valuable skills that will be in demand for years to come.”
According to ASET’s 2021 Salary Survey, electrical engineering technologists and mechanical engineering technologists starting their careers as technologists-in-training (TTs) command average annual salaries of approximately $68,000 and $61,000 respectively. TTs are graduates of polytechnics/technical colleges, have engineering technology diplomas, and are registered with ASET and in the process of accumulating the necessary field experience to earn their designations as certified engineering technologists (CETs).
ASET is partnering with school boards to develop student outreach activities in association with Alberta’s polytechnics/technical colleges.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET