How University is preparing us for tomorrow’s jobs?

Par Anne Elkaïm.

Discussion with Claude Cardinal, Director of Centre de Formation en TI – Université de Sherbrooke

 

  • Tell me about you Claude Cardinal

I am a computer science graduate from the University of Sherbrooke and most recently in public administration from ENAP. Since 2006, I am at the head of the IT training center (CeFTI) of the University of Sherbrooke at the Longueuil Campus. My 20 years of experience allowed me to orientate my career towards education both in the tailor-made private sector as well as at college and university level.

 

  • Can University be innovative ?

Yes, because it is essential for our survival. We are in constant change.

For a long time, the university has been one-way, a Top down approach. The university offered courses and the students attended these. Now it is a collaboration between the needs of the market, companies and universities. Indeed, it was necessary to adapt to the reality of the market and to change the mechanics of the training system to be in line with the needs of expertise to come. This means anticipating the necessary future resources and bringing that back into training courses. The process can be long in the universities to integrate new courses because you have to imagine this new course, validate it, find the lecturer and set it up. A few years ago, for example, we realized that the Big Data would be unavoidable, we felt that there was a need for training and we created it. We extrapolate the present towards the future or the future based on the present, and we try to aim right. Often it works, but sometimes we miss our target.

  • How do you manage to find a lecturer for an ever-evolving profession?

The whole problem is there, to find the one who will be able to teach the job of tomorrow. We will look for that person straight from the field. We initiate meetings with company directors who are in digital transformation or who accompany companies through their transformation process. It was also in this context that I met Julien Trassard, your CEO at Linkbynet, to exchange with experts whose job it is. Nowadays everything works through collaborations, for us it is between companies and the university, a mixture between expertise and the transmission of knowledge. Moreover, this is reflected in our lecturers, currently at the CEFTI there are 23 lecturers for a single professor who is into scientific research. Everything evolves, it is a continuous change and we are there to support our students and for that we need to be innovative.

 

  • Even the building is innovative …

Yes, we are very proud of our Campus of Longueuil at the University of Sherbrooke. The building has won the prestigious Leonardo trophy. The 16-storey building has already won an excellence award from Canadian Architect for its architecture and bold design. This place encourages conviviality and community life, with a view to exemplary sustainable development. Indeed, the building is practically autonomous in terms of energy, thanks to the geothermal energy that we make. The heat recovered from some rooms is transferred to others, these rooms are automatically ventilated, and we even have oxygen control. The floors are controlled by an automated system. We make compost and recycling, we have an oasis, a small vegetable garden reserved for employees, electric hookups for cars and a bicycle station. We are very proud; it is a beautiful building to work in.