L-R: Delta Secondary Teacher Duncan Cowen, Udo Jahn, Modern Engineering, Courtenay Rimaldi, educator from Mission Secondary, Rene Ragetli, Construction Foundation of BC, with the new CNC mill
A state-of-the-art desktop Computer Numeric Control (CNC) mill is the latest addition to the workshops at Delta Secondary School (DSS). It will be used to give students insight into what a career in machining involves.
The mill was generously donated to DSS through a collaborative program, the BC Metal Manufacturers Advisory Group (BCMMAG) involving Udo Jahn, owner of Modern Engineering, Rene Ragetli from the Construction Foundation of BC (CFBC) who runs the Skills Ready program, Courtenay Rimaldi from Mission Secondary School and BCIT. The aim of the program is to get this type of machine into every school district in BC as a way of promoting machining as a viable career option and filling the current skills gap in the machining industry.
“So many people see finished products but have no idea about the manufacturing process itself. Giving high school students exposure to machining tools such as the CNC mill provide that much needed missing link on how products are brought to life and can also give them a taste for how satisfying a career in the manufacturing industry can be,” said Udo Jahn, Modern Engineering. “Everyone talks about needing to fill the manufacturing skills gap, but we’re actually doing something tangible to help. We firmly believe the key is to get young people interested in this career path before they leave school.”
“These days, manufacturing is often a clean modern, high tech career option – and not many people are aware of that,” said Rene Ragetli. “Students are so digitally literate that we know it won’t be a huge leap for them to get to grips with the digital control panel on machines such as the CNC mill. From there, they can learn more about the tools and the machining process. What we’re trying to do here is connect business with schools, so that schools can help chart a course for the types of skills needed in the workforce. We’re always looking for more educators to partner with so that we can get these types of machines into even more schools across B.C.”
The mill was delivered to DSS on Friday, June 24 and was immediately put to the test by DSS teacher Duncan Cowen who used it to make a fidget spinner. Earlier this year, Duncan went through training on how to use the machine at BCIT. He is one of 18 educators in BC that BCIT has trained on how to use the machine.
“We’re thrilled to receive this mill,” said Duncan Cowen. “It contains an industry standard control panel that can be found on many larger machines. This means students will be learning valuable, transferable real-world skills. When school begins again in September, the mill will be used by students in several programs, including the engineering, woodwork, metalwork and automotive programs.”
Udo’s commitment to promoting manufacturing as a valuable and rewarding career option for students that aren’t interested in heading off to university is strong. He has recently hired three DSS graduates to join the team at Modern Engineering.
“Modern Engineering is 100% invested in helping Delta students. We’re thrilled with the support they have given us so far and look forward to collaborating with them on future projects,” said Lisa Chapieski, District Coordinator Student Options and Opportunities.