Addressing the reality and necessity of lifelong learning for engineers

Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Engineering.

Lifelong learning is commonly defined as the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability.

But are these statements true?

The industry certainly seems to be leaning in that direction. More and more leaders and post-secondary institutions stand behind the idea that learning throughout one’s life leads not only to more fulfilment, but more opportunity and technological prosperity. 

According to Statistics Canada, the field of engineering management is projected to see job growth of almost 19 per cent through 2025, with salaries expected to grow more than 15 per cent over the same period. With that in mind, uOttawa’s Faculty of Engineering has invested in practices, programs and partnerships that make continuous education accessible to its students and to industry professionals.

At the school, we are committed to supporting our partners at a time where lifelong learning has become so critical. We're very proud of our distinctive approach in working closely with partners to train not only our students, but also to be a key player and a valued partner in supporting innovation throughout industry in Canada.

The shift towards continuous education can be seen through the Faculty’s new offerings that have been built out to support working professionals. Professionals who understand industry needs, understand the importance of maintaining a competitive advantage. Staying “current” is not only an investment in oneself and one’s career, but it also helps us advance knowledge in our field of study.

The Master of Engineering Management, Master of Engineering in Entrepreneurial Engineering Design and other online graduate programs were designed to train current engineers and other STEM professionals who aspire to be team or project leaders in their field of work. The curriculum is developed in full partnership between uOttawa’s Faculty of Engineering and industry partners and is, in some cases, a one-of-a-kind offering. Examples include, the Engineering Sales School which offers courses on advanced topics and is the first of its kind in Canada; and the cloud computing specialist certification that provides self-paced online training content, lab infrastructure and certification exams for the CENGN Cloud System Specialist (CCSS).

As is the case with technology, advancement is key. We must continue to upskill professionals by providing programs and other innovative approaches which allow and encourage their advancement. 

Engineers and other STEM professionals are leaders in their fields whose work demands constant attention even as they pursue further education. These programs allow our students to take the next step in their careers without having to step away from work to earn an advanced degree.

Jacques Beauvais studied physics at the University of Ottawa and then at Université Laval, and he was appointed as professor in electrical engineering at Université de Sherbrooke in 1993. From 2007 to 2017, he was vice-president of research at Université de Sherbrooke and during that time, he developed and implemented a major strategy focused on innovation, partnerships and entrepreneurship. On July 1, 2017, he returned to the University of Ottawa when he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Engineering.