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Irving Shipbuilding Invests in Systems Engineering Training from Dalhousie University

Irving Shipbuilding has partnered with Dalhousie University to develop an enhanced education program building capability and skills in the specialized area of systems engineering, pledging industry support and more than $176,000 in funding.

Understanding complex systems is a new and growing specialization in demand for engineers around the world. Dalhousie University, in collaboration with prominent systems engineer, Ray Jonkers offers a four-course, just-in-time training program for working professionals or corporate teams looking to upskill in systems engineering. This training is the first of its kind in Canada.

Ray describes systems engineers as “big picture thinkers, collaborators, and problem solvers who also have hard skills in modelling and using other systems engineering tools.” Sometimes referred to as a ‘think’ engineer, they are trained to understand how different systems talk to each other and how they need to work together in a complex environment – from start to finish.

To date, 86 Irving Shipbuilding employees have completed the program, with a program expansion in 2023 expecting to see participation from additional students across the ocean technology, aerospace, and defence industries. This program provides systems engineering skills to Canadians, enhancing their capabilities for future employment and promotion in critical sectors across Canada.

“The Dalhousie University Certificate in Systems Engineering and Complex Project Management is a welcome addition to our program of continuous learning,” said Glen Bannon, Senior Manager, Systems Engineering at Irving Shipbuilding and program liaison. “Tailored to support our work in the marine sector, it has fostered a progressive understanding of systems engineering concepts for our team and several of our industry partners using tools that are relevant to our environment.”

The four courses that make up the training program combine engineering fundamentals with project management principles. Through projects, activities and hands-on training, Ray, a seasoned engineer with project management and quality assurance training, teaches people models-based system engineering and how to apply systems thinking in general.

Ray has worked in engineering for close to 40 years in the areas of program performance, operations, transformation, project management and quality assurance. The majority of his career was spent with the Royal Canadian Navy as a Marine Systems Engineer, which is partly where he drew inspiration for this training.

“We are delighted to partner with a seasoned professional like Ray in an area of specialized training that has been valuable to Irving Shipbuilding, and is in demand to support multi-million-dollar contracts in Canada to design and construct coast guard vessels, supply vessels and more,” says Dr. Dianne Tyers, Dean, Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development at Dalhousie University. “These are complex, large-scale projects that require this kind of specialized training – and right now, there’s no other training like it in Canada.”

Learners who complete the four courses earn a Certificate in Systems Engineering and Complex Project Management from Dalhousie University.

For more information on this training program and how you can enroll your team, please contact Udeni Amit, Program Director, at udeni.amit@dal.ca.


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