Careers in communication: New skills, work ethics take grads in unexpected directions

March 14, 2022

Portrait of Doug Darling, CEO of Tripwire Media Group

It’s a common story: a graduate of RRC Polytech’s Creative Communications program enters the program expecting their path to go one way. Then something — an instructor, a course, a project — points them somewhere new.

“RRC Polytech basically shaped my life in every way,” says Doug Darling, Creative Communications grad, instructor, and CEO of local video production agency Tripwire Media Group, which has worked with companies like Scotiabank, Tabasco and TikTok.

“As a young adult with a failing music career, I had no idea what I wanted to do. After going into Creative Communications, I found my passion for what would become my creative outlet and career.

“It very much culminated in one project — I had to make a three-minute video montage and I wasn’t taking it too seriously. Through that project, though, I found my calling. I realized that video was the culmination of art, and that editing was my new musicianship.”

Examples like Darling’s are something James Turner, instructor of journalism, photography and photojournalism at RRC Polytech, sees quite a bit across all four of CreComm’s specialization areas.

“Something usually strikes students along the way that triggers their desire to want to pursue that,” says Turner. “I’ve heard of various media production assignments that students have found valuable. For journalism, it’s often Remembrance Day assignments where students understand the human impact of journalism and what it means to put a face to a story.”

Read More →

From here to chair: Ellowyn Nadeau becomes first woman to head Winnipeg Construction Association board

March 8, 2022

It’s an announcement 118 years in the making: in February, the Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA) named RRC Polytech instructor Ellowyn Nadeau the first woman board chair in its history.

“This is about women in general — it shows we have a place in this industry,” says Nadeau. “We’re finally achieving an understanding that women can contribute in this field, and we want to. It’s an honour and a privilege.

Nadeau has a long history in construction. She’s been a Construction Management instructor at RRC Polytech since 2015, a Supply Chain Management Professional since 2010, and a professional civil engineer since 2000. Engineering runs in her family — her dad was a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Manitoba — but for many women and girls, construction has not been considered a viable option.

“There weren’t a lot of women in the industry in the 1990s,” says Nadeau. “Even now, there are more women in offices than in the field. The field is less welcoming to women — you’re constantly transitioning from crew to crew, job to job, and you have to prove yourself every time. As an industry, we have to work on that.”

Proving herself is something Nadeau has done. She is past chair of Manitoba Women in Construction, a member of the Committee for Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering, and a member of PEO International, a philanthropic organization providing educational opportunities for women. She joined the WCA board in 2015.

“The WCA has been very supportive, respectful, open and encouraging,” says Nadeau. “This is a culmination of the last couple years, but it’s just the start.” Read More →

RRC Polytech partners with Haas to offer free CNC machinist training

March 3, 2022

RRC Polytech has partnered with Haas, one of the world’s largest machine tool builders, to offer free online training for anyone looking to take their first step toward a career in Manitoba’s booming manufacturing industry.

Online registration is now open for courses in milling and lathing operations. Part of the Haas CNC Certification program, each course covers basic machine operations, safety, machining processes and everything else you need to start a career as a CNC (computer nuermical control) operator. Those working in the field use computer codes and machine tools such as a mill or lathe to shape stock materials into custom-designed parts.

Both pre-recorded courses require no previous knowledge. They can be completed at your own pace; each takes approximately 30 to 40 hours. After completing a course, you can register for an in-person certification test with a local Haas dealer for a nominal fee.

RRC Polytech has made its own machine shops and Haas machines available to boost much-needed testing capacity. The College’s equipment and facilities will give aspiring machine operators a first-hand glimpse of what a shop can look and feel like — and a chance to prove their knowledge by milling or lathing a part.

Earning the certificate opens the door to entry-level manufacturing roles in industries hungry for trained workers, says Jessica Burzminski, a trades instructor at RRC Polytech.

“There’s a huge variety of roles these positions can lead to in sectors as diverse as aerospace and transportation manufacturing and medical research,” she says.

Both courses have already been incorporated into RRC Polytech’s year-long CNC Machinist Technician program, which can lead to a two-year diploma in CNC Machining and Advanced Technology. Read More →

WOW! Hospitality’s Doug Stephen receives Honorary Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

February 24, 2022

For more than 40 years, Doug Stephen, founder of WOW! Hospitality Concepts, has been an integral part of the Winnipeg dining and hospitality sector, bringing smiles and building memories for thousands of people each year.

He’s also provided countless opportunities for RRC Polytech students to gain hands-on industry training and experience, making him a particularly fitting recipient of the College’s honorary diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

“RRC Polytech is proud to recognize the many contributions Doug Stephen has made to the dining and hospitality sector, as well as the education of future culinary, hospitality and tourism leaders in our province,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“There’s an ideal we aspire to as a polytechnic institution, which is to match in-class know-how with the highest quality of work-integrated learning available. That’s because we believe our students deserve the very best — just as Doug Stephen believes Winnipeggers deserve the very best in their dining and hospitality experiences.”

Born in Dauphin, Stephen showed early signs of entrepreneurial leanings. At age 14, he was managing a fleet of Winnipeg Free Press carriers in Clear Lake. A year later, a chance meeting with the owner of Clear Lake’s pizza parlor saw him learning to cook and quickly taking over management duties at the restaurant.

After high school, Stephen came to Winnipeg to pursue his science degree at university, intending to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician. While enrolled, he worked as a server at the Old Spaghetti Factory (OSF). After completing his studies, he took a break year and never really looked back, leaving Winnipeg to gain hospitality training and experience in Toronto, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Ottawa, before returning to take over OSF and Brandy’s in 1980.

“I am so honoured that RRC Polytech has decided that I have given back and that I have contributed to the community,” Stephen says.

“It took a lot of work and perhaps some mistakes along the way. I have been very, very lucky because I’ve done what I have loved my entire life. Along the way I’ve had some great mentors and wonderful opportunities.” Read More →

RRC Polytech supports Bell Let’s Talk Day as part of commitment to mental health

January 26, 2022

As part of its ongoing commitment to prioritize and promote mental health and well-being, RRC Polytech is encouraging staff, students and community members to take pause and participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day 2022.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted all of our lives. In this time, it is critical that we continue to prioritize, and further expand, RRC Polytech’s mental health and well-being initiatives,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO at RRC Polytech. “Bell Let’s Talk aligns with RRC Polytech’s objective to cultivate an environment of support that provides well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for our entire community.  RRC Polytech is proud to join the Bell Let’s Talk campaign and support expanded and enhanced mental health initiatives in Manitoba.”

As part of its strategic plan for 2022–2026, the College is creating a culture that supports the mental health and well-being of students, staff and faculty. Building on the strength of the Healthy Minds, Healthy College strategy launched in 2014, the College recently unveiled its new Campus Well-Being unit, which strives to take a more holistic approach to physical and mental health, with the goal of benefitting even more people by providing opportunities to connect through sport, recreation and wellness-based activities.

In developing the unit’s mandate and guiding principles, RRC Polytech used as a foundational guide the National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students, a document developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Standards Association Group, with financial support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Additionally, a generous donation from Bell’s Post-Secondary fund is helping RRC Polytech implement this national standard, with funding being used to help the Campus Well-Being unit work with students to co-design a peer support program.

“Bell’s commitment to student mental health is an ongoing priority, especially as students continue to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic,” says Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We are proud to continue our support of post-secondary institutions’ efforts to expand, enhance or establish programs that support student mental health and well-being, and ultimately student success.”

Today, RRC Polytech will host a live virtual workshop at 12 p.m. for students, staff and faculty that will include short film viewings and a discussion about ways to open up conversations about mental health and wellness. Read More →

RRC Polytech partners with SkipTheDishes to encourage young women to explore coding and programming

January 25, 2022

A new 12-week course hosted by RRC Polytech and SkipTheDishes will provide 25 high school students with the skills and knowledge to become the tech entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.

Delivered online, the new Technovation Girls Manitoba course includes hands-on, applied learning in IT coding and programming. Students will identify a need in their community and work with instructors and mentors to create an app that offers a solution.

“RRC Polytech is creating more opportunities to engage with young learners in Manitoba and broaden their options for future careers,” says Kathleen Kerr, Dean of the College’s School of Continuing Education. “It’s important for the College to empower underrepresented groups – which in the tech industry, includes women – to build their skills and know their perspectives and talent is needed.

“We’re proud to have partnered with SkipTheDishes on this course, and are so excited to see the first cohort grow in their skills and confidence.”

Technovation Girls is a global tech education program created by the nonprofit Technovation, which offers interactive learning programs to help young people learn how to use app-based technologies or artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems.

Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes, Canada’s largest food delivery network, is partnering with RRC Polytech to bring the program to Manitoba.

“An investment in young women is an investment in the tech landscape as a whole, as we work to create gender parity within the industry,” says Kristina Irvine, SkipTheDishes’ director of talent acquisition. “The skills learned through Technovation will open doors to many different career paths for these young women, and we hope to inspire as many as possible to choose careers in tech.”

“The enthusiasm around the launch of Technovation Girls Manitoba is exciting,” adds Terry Collia, Technovation’s senior director of marketing. “We’ve seen success throughout Canada, with nearly 4,000 young tech entrepreneurs connecting with our program. The availability of Technovation Girls courses in Manitoba … will only help fulfil our mission of empowering girls and addressing the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).”

Melanie Par, who recently graduated from RRC Polytech’s Business Information Technology program, will lead the course.

“With the growing digital and tech sectors in Manitoba, we know the demand for diverse and skilled grads in IT will continue to grow,” says Par. “This is one additional way RRC Polytech can play a critical role to address the underrepresentation of women and girls in the booming IT industry and help better position Manitoba for future growth.” Read More →

RRC Polytech welcomes Knowledge Keepers Council to further Truth and Reconciliation commitments

January 13, 2022

Red River College Polytechnic is proud to welcome its first Knowledge Keepers Council.

Allen Sutherland, Barbara Bruce, Albert McLeod and Martha Peet will join Elders-in-Residence Paul Guimond and Una Swan to provide guidance and diverse Indigenous perspectives throughout RRC Polytech’s work to embed truth and reconciliation.

Earlier this fall, RRC Polytech released its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, In Front of What’s Ahead. The second of the plan’s three commitments is to commit to Truth and Reconciliation by pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything the College does.

“Our needs for consultation and engagement are expanding as we work towards advancing truth and reconciliation and embedding Indigenous perspectives across RRC Polytech. This is a vital piece of ensuring we are on the right track, that we are being intentional,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“We are so fortunate to have such esteemed and respected Elders and Knowledge Keepers joining together to support strategic planning and execution across our organization, which will impact all areas, from academic programs and culturally appropriate supports to applied research, fostering relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses, and being a prominent workplace in Manitoba. I look forward to seeing this group strengthen the efforts outlined in our new Strategic Plan.”

The new Council will advise senior leadership on strategic initiatives as the College responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. The formation of the Council also aligns with the Commission’s principal number seven to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, which states the perspectives and understanding of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.

“One of the most beautiful things about Indigenous cultures is that they are so diverse and there is an understanding of value and respect, despite different customs, traditions and languages,” says Carla Kematch, Director, Truth and Reconciliation at RRC Polytech.

“Within this Knowledge Keepers Council, we have individuals who are proud Cree, Inuit, Métis, Dakota, Oji-Cree, Ojibway and Two Spirit. It’s very inclusive, and each brings a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, teachings and experiences. We need to hear these voices as we move forward and make decisions. Read More →

Change is our business: RRC Polytech incorporates Indigenous content, teachings into commerce and management courses

January 10, 2022

Instructors and staff from Red River College Polytechnic’s Applied Commerce and Management Education (ACME) programs are responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action by Indigenizing their courses.

That means more students preparing for careers in fields such as accounting, finance, marketing and human resources will learn Indigenous teachings and perspectives on key elements of their curriculum.

So far, 13 per cent of ACME courses feature Indigenous content — an impressive number, given the initiative started at zero in 2019 during the onset of COVID-19 and a massive, College-wide conversion to online learning.

ACME instructor Taras Wasyliw says a group of faculty members were inspired by Carla Kematch, RRC Polytech’s Director of Truth and Reconciliation, during a presentation about what sort of Indigenous content they should incorporate in courses they were in the process of redeveloping.

“We all came from different backgrounds and levels of understanding, but we all shared a sense that this was one way to begin righting the wrongs of our business community,” says Wasyliw. “The history of colonization is business history — it’s about exploiting resources for profit.”

Manitoba’s Indigenous population is growing fast — as is the province’s Indigenous workforce.

“Understanding the history of our relationship — correcting it where possible, and making amends — helps us all,” says Wasyliw, while pointing out socially responsible businesses tend to be more profitable.

“So even on a bottom-line level, bringing Indigenous content and teachings into our curriculum is the right thing to do.”

Along with other post-secondary institutions in the province, RRC Polytech is a signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint. This fall, the College strengthened its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation by dedicating one of the three commitments of its new strategic plan to embedding the TRC’s Calls to Action across all programs and operations.

Kematch says ACME’s initiative aligns with Call to Action 62, which focuses on education for reconciliation and calls upon governments to consult with Indigenous peoples, educators and Survivors to help post-secondary instructors integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms. Read More →

Holiday Hours at RRC Polytech

December 21, 2021

Red River College Polytechnic will once again operate on restricted holiday hours beginning at noon on Friday, Dec. 24, 2021.

During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:

Dec. 24, 2021Regular hours until noon
Dec. 24, 2021 at noon through Jan. 3, 2022Closed (no access)
Jan. 4, 2022Regular hours resume at 7am

Regular hours of operation will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 at 7am.

We wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.

RRC Polytech launches $60M campaign: In Front of What’s Ahead

December 1, 2021

Red River College Polytechnic has officially launched the largest-ever campaign in the institution’s history.

To mark Giving Tuesday — a global generosity movement aimed at giving back to the community — RRC Polytech is calling on all Manitobans to support the institution’s commitment to providing students, partners and communities with programs, spaces and supports that put them ahead of the competition.

In Front of What’s Ahead is a $60-million comprehensive campaign that aligns with the College’s new five-year strategic plan and focuses on three priority areas of funding, informed through a broad stakeholder engagement process:

  • Enhance student life ($10 million)
    To position RRC Polytech as a first-choice institution for learners.
  • Transform our spaces ($40 million)
    To keep pace with the rate of change of our businesses and societies.
  • Amplifying our impact ($10 million)
    To attract instructors and researchers in tune with an ever-changing economy, and to better support our partners.

Meeting these priorities will better prepare RRC Polytech to embrace disruption to meet the needs of its students and community members — today and in the years ahead. With this support, RRC Polytech’s students will have access to learning spaces and state-of-the-art equipment that prepare them today for the workforce of tomorrow. They will have more opportunities to work with and learn from industry leaders and mentors. Students will have access to new pathways and programs that reduce barriers and allow learners to receive the appropriate supports needed to succeed.

“As Manitoba’s polytechnic, we have a responsibility to equip our students and partners with the skills, facilities, technology and pathways they need to get in front of a rapidly changing workforce,” says Fred Meier, RRC Polytech President and CEO.

“For more than 80 years, we have been anticipating the needs of industry and fulfilling the training gaps in communities across the province. As technology and the way we work continues to evolve, we’re asking all Manitobans to join us. Join us in creating opportunities for grads to contribute on day one, in creating access for entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their ideas to life, and in creating spaces for communities to flourish.” Read More →