VICTORIA, BC – In 2016, Modern Engineering general manager Udo Jahn spearheaded the creation of the BC Metal Manufacturing Advisory Group (BCMMAG), comprised of a group of industry members, educators and community leaders committed to sharing the career opportunities available in the metal manufacturing trades with young people across British Columbia.
Udo currently sits as the General Manager for one of the West Coast’s most innovative manufacturing companies, Modern Engineering. Modern Engineering offers machining services through their Computer Numerical Control (CNC) software, production jigs and fixtures and CNC machines.
In addition to his General Manager role, Udo is creating meaningful change in manufacturing through the BCMMAG Fund, administered through the Construction Foundation of BC. The fund is focused on outfitting schools with new and cutting-edge machinery equipment and ensuring that educators who have access to this equipment are trained and knowledgeable about its uses.
“We came together and we all said, ‘We’ve got this skills shortage…what can we do to fix it?’ That’s how it started,” said Udo. “We wanted to create something that would give young people a career path.”
WorkSafeBC.ca estimates that there will be approximately 50,101 manufacturing industry job openings between 2018 and 2028. The BCMMAG’s goal of creating awareness through conversations, industry events, dialogue and fundraising initiatives will help alleviate the demand for skilled workers to fill these roles.
“One of the major objectives of the BCMMAG is to get everyone in metal manufacturing pulling on the same rope and in the same direction at the same time,” explained Udo. “We can achieve this by going out and talking to teachers, handing out brochures and talking to the young people. We’re developing community and we’re giving people hope.”
The group’s work in secondary schools has led to constructive conversations with interested educators and spreading awareness about the support systems and funds that are available to metal manufacturing within the province of BC.
“A lot of interested educators have the impression that training for metal manufacturing programs is complicated – it’s not complicated,” added Udo. “We’re here to let interested parties know that there is support out there from Industry.”
BCMMAG’s efforts place a heavy emphasis on job creation, sustainability and growth in the manufacturing industry, but Udo’s personal drive to create change goes beyond the traditional 9-5 workday.
“It’s about changing one life at a time,” he stated. “By getting young people interested, one person at a time we can move forward as a society. This can be done by getting the message out there that ‘We can do this; we can change the tide very quickly’.
“What I wanted to do was to bring like-minded people together so that we could address the skills gap. I was frustrated by the current state of the metal industry and I want to leave this place a better place than when I found it.”
the Construction Foundation of BC
The Construction Foundation builds community through engagement in charitable initiatives and a commitment to industry focused education and research initiatives that benefit all British Columbians. For more information, please visit www.constructionfoundation.ca.