CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Career colleges prepare students for workplace

By Linda White
Special to the Toronto Sun

For the unemployed and underemployed, the road to a successful career can begin at a private career college, where programs prepare students for entry-level employment in the shortest time possible.

"Many of our students are looking for a career or a career change," says Mark O'Shaughnessy, managing director of the Institute of Technical Trades (I.T.T.) in Scarborough.

I.T.T. offers diploma and certificate programs in arc, MIG, TIG, stainless, aluminum and MIG flux core welding. Welders are needed in many industries, but the overwhelming majority work in manufacturing and construction.

"Many of our students come to us working at a minimum-wage job," O'Shaughnessy says. "With nine to 11 weeks of training in the three main types of welding -- arc, MIG and TIG -- they can be out earning $14 to $16 an hour. They're just amazed."

Diploma & Certificate programs

I.T.T. also offers diploma and certificate programs in CNC (computer numerical control) mill setup and operation, CNC lathe setup and operation, CNC programming, AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design), MasterCAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) and CADKEY.

CNC technology is used by machinists to operate a variety of manufacturing tools and equipment in the production of metal parts. The bulk of machinists are employed in the manufacturing industry.

Established in 1968, I.T.T. is a test centre for the Canadian Welding Bureau and the Technical Standard & Safety Authority for the Ontario pressure license.
Programs offered by private career colleges stress practical skills and minimize liberal arts studies. These programs typically appeal to students who:
  • need practical skills to enter the workforce as quickly as possible;
  • may not be particularly interested in academic studies at this point in their career;
  • need specific practical skills in addition to their academic qualifications to become more competitive in the marketplace. -- Information from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

  • It's one of more than 450 registered private career colleges in Ontario. Some offer training in a variety of occupations, but most focus on careers that will prepare students for clearly defined occupations. Courses are usually offered as morning, afternoon or evening sessions.

    Northtown Technical, another private career college, is a member of the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association. "Our goal is to enable students to acquire a profitable, responsible and satisfying position in today's demanding marketplace," says president Laszlo Csikasz.

    Variety of technology

    It teaches a variety of manufacturing technology and design courses, including CNC, CAD, CAM, CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine), SPC (Statistical Process Control), PC-DMIS and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

    Northtown has been operating for more than seven years. It also teaches modern design and manufacturing software like AutoCAD and MasterCAM. It offers company custom training at its location or on site.

    Some private career colleges, including I.T.T. and Northtown, participate in various government assistance programs for students and welcome Workplace Safety & Insurance Bureau of Ontario, employment insurance and social assistance recipients.

    To find out more about the Institute of Technical Training, visit or call 416-750-1950.

    To find out more about Northtown Technical, visit or call 416-636-4400.

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