Training in popular technologies

Yves Blanchet (Photo: Cassian Blanchet)

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Requests for expertise in technical fields (good skills) are up nearly 10% from 2020, Boomrank notes in its 2021 Continuing Education Barometer. Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) are especially popular.

Technical training is becoming essential for workers because they are using it more and more everywhere, says Yves Blanchet, a professor at the University of Montreal and a researcher at the Skills and Jobs Observatory. “The pandemic has only accelerated this trend,” he says. Trainings that allow employees to work from home have become fashionable for workforce retention. In the manufacturing sector, companies need to educate their employees on the greater use of robotics and automation, the professor also notes.

As for Polytechnique Montréal, “Digital technology has established itself over the past 10 years as a pillar as important as mathematics for all engineers,” notes Pierre Baptiste, Director of Academic Affairs and Student Experience. So, almost 1,800 people are being trained in this area, which includes AI, big data, industry 4.0, the Internet of things, robotics and automation. “No industry or service sector escapes this, and all engineers and technicians should be trained in this,” says the director.

The institution is also starting to address the sustainability training needs expressed in its professional environment. This area is becoming another important base for all types of geniuses, says Pierre Baptiste. Polytechnique Montréal is also working on a new environmental certification, but we will have to wait a bit for training in this area to increase in Quebec. Despite government encouragement to become aware of environmental training needs, Yves Blanche has yet to notice any significant change in this area.

On the other hand, the number of training courses for familiarization with AI is growing, the researcher notes. “They allow employees to understand what AI is and use it in their workplace. »

Jean-Francois Leblanc, chemical engineer at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane’s Sorel-Tracy plant, was pursuing this skill in a two-day workshop hosted by Moov AI. “This training expands my knowledge and my horizons. This now allows me to identify the potential to take our chemical processes to the next level in terms of automation,” said a man who offered his management three ideas for AI development projects in his plant. The selected project will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Cybersecurity is on the rise

“Companies have recognized the dangers of fraud, some of which, like the Desjardins case, have been widely publicized,” notes Yves Blanchet, who also notes the craze for cybersecurity education. Polytechnique Montréal is preparing to launch a new professional master’s degree in this field in September. Already offered cybersecurity certifications were awarded to 34 people in 2015 and 490 in 2021. “It’s an explosion! sums up Pierre Baptiste, for whom the need for on-the-job training of engineers and technicians is clear and applies to all companies.

The fast certification formula is very suitable for teaching technologies that require frequent updates, he emphasizes. But in order to keep a job, change a job or get a promotion, employees will have to continue training in subsequent years. “Technology is ubiquitous and ever-changing,” recalls Yves Blanchet. The transformation happened faster during the pandemic, but will continue after it. »