Where is there room for improvement within the programs?
The biggest slow down is continuity in funding. To run top-of-the-line programs you need money for equipment and instructors. We have done okay so far, but we could do much more if we could buy the newest equipment and software. Funding is also needed to keep instructor’s skills current if not ahead of the curve.
Another area that can be improved on is the use of VIP for aerospace applications. Access to licenses or collaboration with aerospace companies would be a great improvement. I would also add being able to tap into the chemistry-side of our programs without turning them into pure chemistry engineering courses.
What were the challenges in creating a new CCT educational program?
When we started, the CCT program structure was pretty rigid. We were fortunate to have Andre Cocquyt on board, who had a good working relationship with ACMA. Our industry partners were happy to be involved and took the role of vetting seriously. He was familiar with the CCT model and was able to push the modular approach, which is where students take basic composites classes then add a specialty area like vacuum infusion, through. Overall, it went fairly smooth because we had funding in place for curriculum development and were able to deliver a near-ready package to ACMA for the CCT-VIP.
Where do you see the most potential for composites?
I see vast potential within civil infrastructure such as bridges, culverts, docks and pilings as well as within renewable energy sources like wind and tidal energy. A new campus next to one of the longest runways in the North East opens up other venues such as aircraft repairs and involvement in the secure communications platform. In fact, one of our partners has already started up a company and we are training their employees.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
As a school, we are looking forward to starting up the degree program in the new composites building at the ex NASB (Naval Air Station Brunswick) as well as having an even better facility for our continuing education programs. Also, continuing to add to our course offerings as the industry needs evolve and working on apprenticeship programs. Overall, simply work with the industry to encourage bright young minds to look at careers in manufacturing.