Photonics related industries in Canada have enjoyed remarkable success in the last decade, particularly in the area of fiber optic telecommunications. There is, however, growing concern that a shortage of highly skilled photonics professionals will limit future growth and weaken Canada's competitive position. A recent paper by Nantel and Beda' presents a good summary of the state of photonics in Canada and the projected needs for highly qualified personnel. The recent economic downturn, which has been particularly severe in the photonics sector, has reduced the sense of urgency surrounding the projected shortages of highly qualified personnel. Many individuals who were recently recruited into the photonics industry are now seeking other employment. This should serve as a warning to university educators not to focus their programs too narrowly on specific short term requirements of industry, but to provide graduates with a broad skill set that leaves them positioned to react to changing circumstances. Nevertheless, the critical importance of photonics education and training and the long term prospects in this sector remain unchanged. To meet the future demands for skilled professionals, there is a need for more bachelor's level university programs that include advanced photonics concepts and exposure to state of the art technology.
Paul E. Jessop, Paul E. Jessop,
"Educating photonics engineers", Proc. SPIE 10313, Opto-Canada: SPIE Regional Meeting on Optoelectronics, Photonics, and Imaging, 1031358 (29 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2283984; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2283984