Defining Next-Generation Education in Humber’s Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation

By: Alysia Burdi, Humber College

Built to inspire innovation, support skills development and promote STEAM outreach, Humber College’s Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) is paving the way for students, faculty and industry alike to solve real-world problems.

The 93,000-square-foot facility is located at Humber’s North Campus and builds on Humber’s expertise in areas such as automation, robotics, system integration, user experience testing, applied research and work-integrated learning. With equipment that is unique to North America, key features include interactive technology zones, digital media studios, cutting-edge prototyping and maker spaces, open concept gathering spaces and demonstration areas for new products and technologies.

“Through the Barrett CTI and across the college, we are working to address the skills gap by providing next generation learning in smart and collaborative spaces to prepare students for the workforce of the future,” says Humber president and CEO, Chris Whitaker. “With this Centre, we continue to be a leader in polytechnic education and prepare our students for a rapidly changing workforce. We are also helping organizations of all sizes with testing new technologies, conducting applied research, and providing solutions-based thinking to help them be globally competitive,” adds Whitaker.

The space is meant to provide a unique teaching and learning environment to mend the gap between education and real-world experience. The Centre provides a variety of education programs and disciplines under one roof for all students to enhance their skills and creativity in their chosen field.

Humber also uses Innovation360, an innovation management system to help organizations assess and strengthen their innovation capabilities for sustainable growth and profit Their research-intensive innovation assessments and metrics are derived from InnoSurvey®, their proprietary innovation database. Their methodology includes evidence-based analysis and recommendations with concrete execution plans to help organizations establish an adaptable innovation process and foster a culture and language of innovation.

Strengthening the vision for the Barrett CTI, the college is working closely with eight leading industry partners who are working with the college to train students and employees of Canadian companies to advance their skills and the future of technology innovation. Cimetrix Solutions, a division of Javelin Technologies, Cisco Systems Canada Co., DMG MORI Canada Inc., Festo Didactic Inc., KUKA Robotics Canada Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., SEW-EURODRIVE Company of Canada Ltd., and SICK Sensor Intelligence all bring new technologies and opportunities to the Barrett CTI and are founding members of Humber’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Consortium.

The partnership with Cisco includes the Cisco Digital Transformation Zone. This state-of-the-art data centre room is designed to accommodate a network of critical computerized systems and components that are vital to the continuity of daily information technology and wireless operations to support activities in the Barrett CTI. The room provides a secure environment to centralize IT operations including storage, management, and dissemination of data. It’s an independent network which enables applied research projects and information to be “off the grid.” Tenants share the software application, but each tenant’s data is isolated and remains invisible to others.

Neal Mohammed, Director for Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation says the opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in the Centre help students excel and reach new potential.

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students succeed in the classroom and in their careers. Our polytechnic model prioritizes student and faculty collaboration with industry and the wider community. This gives them real-world experience and helps to make them career-ready,” says Mohammed.

By bringing the community, researchers and companies together in a multi-purpose Centre, these modern learning spaces help to advance businesses and industries across the country and beyond, giving students a new way to explore their education.

“The Barrett Centre is taking this model and turning up the heat,” says Mohammed.

Contact Nadia Desjardins, Associate Dean, Corporate Training Solutions. Nadia.desjardins@humber.ca