The Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence is Building Ottawa One Graduate at a Time
Since opening in September 2011, the state-of-the-art facility has cemented Algonquin College’s reputation as an educational leader in the skilled construction trades—a place for professionals looking to hire, train, teach, and even shape curriculum.
“The way this is set up, it’s a learning lab,” Shaun Barr, Chair of Construction Trades and Building Systems, says of ACCE’s unique, collaborative environment. “You have [everything from] carpenter and refrigeration apprentices to architecture, HVAC (Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning), and interior design students— all working in the same space.” That interaction mirrors the experience of real-world job sites.
It also makes graduates valuable to employers—many of whom supported ACCE. The local construction and trade industries donated $7 million towards the building—nearly 10% of the final cost.
That investment created ongoing partnerships and vital connections, Barr says. From a new electrical lab to new programs—like Canada’s first Bachelor of Building Science—ACCE continues to grow to meet changing needs in the industry and economy.
Industry professionals can play a major role in ACCE by serving on a program advisory committee (PAC) and steering curriculum changes, Barr says. He urges anyone interested to simply contact a program Chair.
HVAC alumni and PAC member, David Godin, calls the committees a “true testament” to how much the College values “feedback from the industry.”
“[They] allow the business community to engage…and be heard,” says Godin, Sr. Advisor Operations, Eastern Region, for Enbridge Gas Inc. “It’s having your voice at the table in the programs that are going to train the graduates you hire. More people should get involved and give their input.”