Camosun Innovates, Camosun’s applied engineering department, has created a new position that it hopes will help strengthen the fields of automation and mechatronics at the college. Imtehaze Heerah is the new Regional Chair of Innovation for Leading Edge Endowment Fund BC, and he hopes to unite academics and industry in practical ways.

“With the pandemic, over the past couple of years it’s been a bit more difficult to find qualified people to work, so there’s a greater need now for automation and mechatronics solutions in industry, and this role is really just to help build capacity in these two areas at Camosun Innovates,” says Heerah.

Camosun Innovates has been active in creating vaccine trays during COVID-19 (Camosun College photo).

Mechatronics is a field that combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and information technology to provide sophisticated solutions to technological problems. Heerah says her primary goal for her new position is to integrate Camosun Innovates into the local industry so thoroughly that it becomes a “go-to place,” where companies actively seek Camosun’s help with practical challenges. engineering and manufacturing.

“In the background, there has always been this need for automation solutions. A lot of companies in the city actually have fantastic products, but they’re making them manually, and they’re getting to a point where they need to be able to make more and faster,” says Heerah. “This is where we come in, by providing expertise in the field, and also by allowing our students in our various programs to be able to work on these various projects. It is a local center specializing in this type of work.

Another key part of Camosun Innovates’ operating structure is that it gives students hands-on, hands-on experience with real industry work to further enrich their education. Heerah says this fusion of theory and practice is a game-changer for students.

“The kind of projects we work on there are to provide students with the opportunity to work on real industry-based projects, which is slightly different from their program activities,” he says. “It changes everything for them, because it goes from being in the classroom and learning the basic skills that you need, and also having the opportunity to apply them, and often, with a lot of these projects, they are also paid while they’re working on it, which is an added bonus.

Heerah says an important goal of the program is to create an opportunity for students from different disciplines to come together to solve problems in a creative and unified way, which reflects the experience they will have once they have a job working on real engineering projects. .

“When people come to school, they get stuck in their own curriculum, so usually when I have my students, they just meet their fellow mechanical engineering students, and that’s basically their experience over the two, next two and a half years, regardless of the length of the program, and the same can be said for students in the civil engineering program, arts and sciences program, etc.,” Heerah says. “What we are trying to do here is actually try to get students from different fields to collaborate, to come up with a really smart solution to some kind of problem, because at the end of the day, that’s really the nature of the field of mechatronics and automation. ”

Heerah is thrilled with his new role and feels the program is well prepared to create an active and meaningful impact within the local industry.

“It’s been in the works for a while, and it was just the right time to launch it, because we know there’s a need; we know we have the inside expertise,” says Heerah. “Whether it’s within the team we have at Camosun Innovates, or our own students here in the various programs, I think we’re at a point where we can put all of these pieces together and come up with something amazing. , within the college, and also for the community.

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