With a track record of over 325 students engaged so far, the future of applied research at WIMTACH is bright and promising. WIMTACH industry partner Mark Jones of Applied Program Consulting Inc. (APCI), a consulting and project management services company, thinks so.
Jones collaborated with WIMTACH on a software development-related project. He decided to work with WIMTACH not only because of the “bang for my buck” package of technology development, networking services and commercialization services – specifically funding acquisition funding – but also because “WIMTACH demonstrated that [its team] had the skillset I needed [to complete the project].” The current project of WIMTACH and APCI is funded through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA)
Finding the required level of expertise can be challenging because it requires extensive searching and screening for the best, and it often involves a costly time commitment. For small to medium-sized businesses, this commitment can result in a project that doesn’t allow for much modification and adjustment, or even no project at all. Moreover, it may compel a business owner to makes unnecessary compromises that reduce or eliminate the innovation of the project for the sake of these obstacles.
WIMTACH’s resources and infrastructure mitigate those obstacles. Before even beginning the project, Jones was able to consult with several professors to ensure the project team had a high-level of expertise. During the project, Jones was able to clearly communicate to the WIMTACH technical team how he wanted his end product to drive business value:
“Those conversations [about what technology can do and the business value that it brings] were quite productive; they got it and appreciate the guidance, so in a sense, what motivates the other person (Jones) is what helps motivate you…they [the students] were terrific to work with – the enthusiasm, the flexibility [despite] scheduling issues…”
When students work with WIMTACH, they gain significant opportunity to develop their hard, technical skills with their soft skills, particularly relationship-building. This enhances their job-readiness in their chosen industry as well as prepares them to address a variety of challenges that occur during projects.
Rithesh D’cruz of the Software Engineering program at Centennial, who worked with Mark Jones on this project, gained an experiential learning opportunity that he wouldn’t have otherwise gotten while completing his studies:
“From the first project I completed [with WIMTACH] to the second, there’s a high level of innovation involved that helps you develop a better sense of your own strengths, set the bar higher and think differently about the approach you take [to research projects]…What I learned is much more than what I learned in school…the experience at WIMTACH complements your classroom knowledge…”
For Jones, the advantage of working with students is that “they’re eager to learn” and the value that eagerness brings to strengthening working relationships. While students are still refining their expertise as they work to complete their programs, Jones believes that their academic journey has the “advantage of imaginativeness” when coupled with their WIMTACH experience.
This serves as an important catalyst for project innovation, work schedule flexibility and project solutions that advance ideas much further along than otherwise, with one level of expertise. In particular, WIMTACH Student Technicians and Centennial College faculty continue to bring exceptional competence to each project, providing clients with fresh ideas and solutions by blending their classroom knowledge with their experiential knowledge. Overall, WIMTACH is fully committed to enhancing the student experience at Centennial College with its numerous learning and experiential opportunities that all contribute progressively to the applied research discipline.
WIMTACH proudly recognizes funding to support this work from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).