Home » Industry » Mechatronics Program Readies Students for Sought-After Field of Advanced Manufacturing
ron murray headshot

Ron Murray

Faculty – Electrical, Mechatronics, Siemens Certification at Kwantlen Polytechnic University


Blessing Nabbimba

Mechatronics Student

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s two-year diploma program delivers theoretical knowledge along with valuable hands-on experience.

While working at his practicum placement at a company that tested products for safety and reliability, Blessing Nabbimba noticed that the equipment needed to be better organized. Using the lean manufacturing principles he had learned at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), he implemented a system that made tools easier to find, reducing lost time and increasing worker efficiency.

Nabbimba credits his education at KPU with providing him with the strong theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience to excel in such a situation.

You can study something in a textbook, but when you go to actually do it, it doesn’t always work.

KPU is Canada’s only polytechnic university, focusing on hands-on skills in addition to traditional academics. Programs provide theoretical learning along with experiential opportunities, such as group projects, presentations, and practicums. At five campuses in Metro Vancouver, KPU offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations in more than 140 programs and works with industry partners to ensure graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce.

Nabbimba recently graduated from KPU’s two-year Diploma in Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology program. Mechatronics is a field of science that includes a combination of systems incorporating mechanical technology, electronics, processes and controls. Mechatronics ​incorporates various types of ​control systems​, electro-mechanical systems​ and industrial automation in ​a wide range of industries such as manufacturing, packaging, food processing, ​automated equipment production, commissioning and repair, etc.

kwantlen polytechnic university campus
KPU Trades and Technology Campus

Hands-on experience increases understanding

“The hands-on experience at KPU is very beneficial,” says Nabbimba. “You can study something in a textbook, but when you go to actually do it, it doesn’t always work. So with hands-on experience, you can see what hurdles you will face and be able to understand it better. Also, the more you use certain equipment, you learn how to use it safely and get more comfortable with it.”

Instructor Ron Murray says that hands-on experience helps cement the knowledge that students gain from studying. Murray and fellow instructor, John Singh drew on their industry experience to create and spearhead the Mechatronics program four years ago.

“Students become more confident that they will be able to perform in an environment that uses what they’ve learned,” Murray says. “Our program is unique in Canada. We are on the Trades and Technology campus of the university, so we have access to real equipment, whereas other programs may have a virtual or small trainer. We work with the real stuff.”

Nabbimba says having this experience also makes graduates more attractive to companies looking for employees in the booming field of advanced manufacturing. The connections that faculty members have with industry partners also help. Just a few weeks after graduation, Nabbimba is starting a job in the agriculture industry with a company that uses automated systems for monitoring and growing crops.

kwantlen polytechnic mechatronics program
Blessing Nabbimba and John Singh working in the lab

Ideal for creative problem solvers

As someone who was always interested in how things work and what makes things go, this is a dream come true for Nabbimba. The Mechatronics program is ideal for high school graduates, as well as post-secondary students or working professionals who want to augment their skills. It is a fit for anyone who is a creative problem solver and loves to communicate their ideas and be part of a team.

“It is good if you are the type of person interested in how things work behind the scenes, in opening things up to see what parts are inside and looking at the circuitry and the code and logic,” Nabbimba says. “I was a high school student who liked robotics. With mechatronics you take that to the next level. If you want to go from the small stuff to the big stuff and want to bridge the gap, mechatronics is your way there.”

Next article