Hire Education - Kamsi Bona | St. Clair College
Thursday, March 14, 2024
Student: Kamsi Bona

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Hire Education is a series that showcases stories of student success through experiential learning.

Kamsi Bona

Kamsi Bona feared he wouldn't have what it takes to make it in the "real world."

But after two years in St. Clair College's Robotics Program, he knows he's ready.

With a focus on experiential learning, the program takes students beyond classroom simulations with opportunities such as job shadowing at Valiant TMS and an exciting new mentorship program with Ford Motor Company.

"The College is doing a really good job having students get these rewarding experiences while they're in college," said Bona, 19, in his final year of studies to become an Electromechanical Engineering Technician. "I feel like it's essential. It really helps out, because it kind of takes away the tension of ‘I haven't done this before outside of college.' It takes that away and makes you feel more confident and more able to do the job. I really respect that about the College."

The Electromechanical Engineering Technician - Robotics program equips students to become leaders in the design, manufacturing, application, and testing of robotic systems in countless manufacturing environments.

A key aspect of the College's Robotics Program is the real-world experiences it offers through work-integrated learning. When graduation day comes, students will have had multiple opportunities to get insider industry experience.

The Ford Mentorship Program is a new co-curricular initiative at St. Clair College which pairs students with motor company representatives.

The mentorship, one of the opportunities St. Clair offers for enhanced learning beyond the classroom, is available to students in multiple programs.

Ford executives volunteer to mentor a St. Clair student, meeting with them monthly during the school year and beyond. The mentors help students with goal setting, navigating the transition from school to the workforce, and other important issues.

The first group of 11 students to benefit from the Ford program met their mentors in November 2023.

Bona's mentor is Elizabeth-Anne Byrne, Resident Engineer for Ford's Godzilla Program.

"The Ford Windsor Site greatly values our mentorship program with St. Clair College," said Byrne. "We're always excited to introduce these students to the many challenging and diverse opportunities that Ford Windsor Operations presents, and we're proud to help them build a future in today's manufacturing world. We benefit as well from their enthusiasm and new ideas. It's a win-win for both sides."

Bona said he has regular virtual discussions and meetings with Byrne. There are also opportunities to visit Ford facilities and get an up-close look at operations.

"I'm learning about the workforce, what engineers face on a daily basis, setting goals," said Bona, who moved from Nigeria to attend St. Clair College after hearing about its programs and opportunities. "We're also doing prepping, like what my resume should look like. It's stuff that you would have to learn once you're in the field. It gives you insight about how the engineering world is outside of college."

Bona's next opportunity will be job shadowing through the College's partnership with Valiant TMS, a global automation company.

Every year, St. Clair students shadow Valiant TMS experts on live projects and gain hands-on experience in robotics and Programmable Logic Controls (PLC).

But the program offers more than experience. Last year, 11 students did job shadowing at Valiant TMS. The company hired nine of them.

"It's going to help me a lot," said Bona. "It's a really good experience for someone to have, to get an idea of how the industry is while you're still in college. Because one thing I've always been scared about is when I'm done college, how well am I going to get in sync with the world outside college? So it gives you an insight of what to expect and the kind of mindset to have toward working after college."