OPG Centre for Skilled Trades & Technology opens at Durham College’s Whitby campus


Published April 25, 2022 at 10:46 am

The new 60,000 sq. ft Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology at Durham College’s Whitby campus will add capacity for 750 students as well as adding numerous labs and shops to the campus repertoire.

The Centre held its grand opening last week, featuring event tours of the facility; an Indigenous blessing given by Senator Cecile Wagar from the Oshawa and Durham Métis Council; an official ribbon cutting; and remarks from individuals representing Durham College students, alumni, employees and local community partners.

“This incredible new facility will help bring student success to life, creating opportunities to advance innovation and knowledge and providing a career launchpad for the next generation of skilled tradespeople,” said Durham College President Don Lovisa. “The generosity and support from our community is an investment in our collective success and our students’ futures, and core not only to the successful completion of this building but to the entire revitalization of the Whitby campus as we continue to lead the way in transformative education.”

Partnering with the college to help fund the expansion is Ontario Power Generation (OPG), whose name adorns the front of the CSTT to honour and recognize the deep-rooted partnership the two organization enjoy and acknowledge OPG’s long-standing support of both DC and its students over the last 20 years.

“This state-of-the-art facility is just the latest in Ontario Power Generations’ decades’-long partnership with Durham College,” said Subo Sinnathamby, senior vice president, Nuclear Refurbishment. “This partnership helps educate and train career-ready graduates to build a diverse population of potential employees for the energy sector in skilled trades and STEM. Now more than ever, we need skilled, talented and qualified graduates to support our current and future operational and project needs.”

In less than three years, the DC Building for Skills campaign has raised $9.5 million toward the $10 million in community support required to fully fund the $35 million project, which includes generous funding from the Region of Durham, the Town of Whitby and the Durham College Student Association (DCSA), in addition to donations and gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. Fundraising activities continue to close the gap, with an aim to complete the campaign this spring.

Durham Region Chair John Henry was enthusiastic in its support for the new skilled trades and technology centre, calling it an “exciting and momentous” occasion.

“It was a reminder about the power of strong partnerships. How working together provides a chance to positively shape the future. It was a moment to celebrate what two community pillars can achieve when they come together,” he said. “Creating strong opportunities for future generations requires an investment in people. We look forward to seeing how our highly trained skilled workers will help power our region for generations to come.”

Given the skilled labour shortage at the regional, provincial and national level – Colleges Ontario is forecasting that by 2030 the province will face a shortage of more than 500,000 workers in the skilled trades – the new facility could not have come at a better time, said Linda Flynn, the associate vice-president, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and executive director, Durham College Foundation.

“Support from community partners like Ontario Power Generation makes an incredible difference at DC by helping to enhance our programs and facilities and providing access to industry expertise and experiential learning opportunities for our students to advance their skills,” Flynn said. “Seeing this building come together through the collaborative effort of so many is an incredible feeling, and we are proud of the role it plays in the success of our students and the Region.”

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