This article is sponsored by Algonquin College Corporate Training.
In 2016, Ottawa company AMBICO took on the job to design, build and supply new doors and frames as part of the major renovations on Parliament Hill. But these were not just ordinary doors and frames.
AMBICO specializes in custom doors, frames and windows that must meet the highest standards for acoustics and bullet and blast resistance.
Since the 1950s, this family-owned business has grown into a major player in its market space. AMBICO’s products are exported around the world, for use in hospitals, universities, banks, prison facilities, hotels, museums, art galleries and, of course, government buildings.
The company employs about 100 people in Ottawa, many of whom are involved in manufacturing. Given the high-performance assemblies that AMBICO designs and produces, conventional skillsets in metal fabrication are not enough.
That poses a persistent challenge for AMBICO when it comes to hiring and training staff in the Ottawa area.
“We are not going to find people just down the street who have these skills – they have to be trained in house,” said president Jack Shinder, son of co-founder Israel Shinder. He runs the company with vice-president Judah Silverman, son-in-law of AMBICO’s other co-founder, Emanuel Lightstone.
As a home-grown manufacturer with unique needs, AMBICO long ago learned how important it is to be plugged into government programs and agencies that can assist with new product innovation, global export and talent development.
On that last point, talent, AMBICO maintains close ties with Algonquin College. Algonquin is a member of the Eastern Ontario College Consortium (EOCC). This collective of five colleges supports employers in key industry sectors with the essential skills training their workforces and new hires need, to keep Ontario’s economy humming. This work is funded by a provincial initiative, Skills Advance Ontario, so that it’s free to both employer and jobseeker.
Algonquin is the lead college for Skills Advance Ontario’s Steel and Aluminum project, where it delivers innovative, sector-based workforce training and talent development programs for a stronger future in the steel and aluminum industry.
Enter Algonquin College Corporate Training (ACCT)
ACCT provides professional development for individuals and teams already in the workforce, either from its own facility in downtown Ottawa at 700 Sussex, on the jobsite, or remotely. It works closely with companies in Ottawa and the surrounding area to align workforce skills with business needs and the demands of industries that are increasingly competitive and high-tech.
In the months prior to the pandemic, Shinder and the rest of the AMBICO team worked with ACCT team to take advantage of new training funded through Skills Advance Ontario for steel and aluminum manufacturers.
This enabled AMBICO to use ACCT’s services to improve its staff onboarding and training processes in way it would not have otherwise considered. ACCT tackled five projects for the company:
- Delivered health and safety training
- Developed and delivered a customer experience and transactional project management program
- Developed an online video Standard Operating Procedures onboarding training program
- Developed an online video training production onboarding program
- Developed online video training for stainless steel door finishing
“We had come to realize that our training needed a higher level of execution,” Shinder said. “ACCT considered our needs and took care of all the details to develop from scratch everything we needed to train new employees so they can successfully integrate with our team.”
The result is a more consistent onboarding process, with training resources that show a professional production value that would have otherwise been beyond AMBICO’s budget.
“These videos and training materials make us look good as a destination employer, and they help us to continue offering great manufacturing jobs in the Ottawa area,” Shinder said. “These are jobs for life. When there is collaboration like this between industry and government to create jobs and build skills, everyone wins.”