Plans for a 20,000-square-foot Jane Campus were unveiled in November 1980 at the Prince Hotel – just two months after Premier William Davis announced Building and Industrial Leadership and Development (BILD) funding to stimulate energy, transportation and technology.
“This $1.9 million facility for machinists and tool and die makers will benefit many of the 40-odd companies in North York and the York Region who are participating in this project,” Education Minister Bette Stephenson said. Participating companies would also be eligible for federal training funds.
The construction overseen by Peter Struk – who would also be involved in the building of Seneca@York — was a welcome addition to the area. In 1979, 92 per cent of local machining companies reported severe hiring problems, at a time when apprentice machinists and tool and die makers were being paid more than $20,000 a year.
Employers also welcomed the “front-ending” of work in the classroom before internships, added Principal Coordinator Don Shaver. “Many employers dislike the fact that [other] apprentices are absent for three periods of eight weeks for classroom instruction … we are moving from a time-based to a competency-based system, where the most important criteria should be skills and competence – not just the length of time of the training.”
While traditional apprenticeships required a Grade 10 education, applicants for spaces at the Centre had to demonstrate their aptitude and complete a Grade 12 education.
The facility itself included three styles of milling machine. The vertical Ram was manufactured by Excello Corporation with 7.26 hp at the spindle for larger cuts. Standard vertical and universal horizontal machines were made in Czechoslovakia by TQS Company.
The inventory also included two surface grinders for fine finishing and for the sizing of flat parts. There was a precision lathe for optimal fine-tuning and an EDM machine that used the spark erosion process to machine shapes and cavities from the hardest metals.
It mimicked the workplace in every way. Students had to punch a clock, and observe a host of other workplace-related rules. And each of them was eligible for up to $7,000 in federal subsidies when it came time for their apprenticeships as machinists, tool and die makers, mold makers, industrial machinery mechanics, instrument mechanics and welder-fitters.
General Machinist, Tool and Die Maker and Mold Maker advanced apprenticeship programs were introduced in 1983 for 50 students who had already registered apprenticeships with immediate standings as mold makers – working with a newly installed 28-ton injection molder.
And, in 1986, a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) was established at this site, combining the imaginations of marketing expert George Jamieson and nuclear physicist David E. Coates, former Executive Assistant to the President of York University. And a robot was used to unveil the aluminum alloy name plate designed at the centre itself.
Three years later, the CPST became the Centre for Advanced Technologies, along with the introduction of new computer equipment. That September, the Seneca Digital Media Centre that specialized in 3-D animation would join programs in Manufacturing and Machining Techniques, Computer Numerical Control Programming, and the Webmaster Technical and Content programs.
In 2003, animation students moved to the new Technology Enhanced Learning Building at York University.
In 2009, The Jane Campus Website was created, introduced and launched. Shortly after, a Blog was added. The Forums was next. Updates are posted regularly and the online Student Community is growing. Students are also kept updated via daily News on the industry.
Learn more about Full-time programs offered at Jane Campus.