A School within a Mold Shop

Unique Tool & Gauge has initiated a new, structured one-year training program designed to lead to full-time moldmaking positions with the company.


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Unique Tool & Gauge Inc. began operations in 1982 and works with all major automotive producers and Tier 1 suppliers. The company operates out of a 60,000-square foot facility in Windsor, Ontario, providing full service design, manufacturing, and program management. And, just like many other mold builders has had to contend with the challenge of finding skilled workers. 

To solve this problem, Darcy King, Unique President & CEO, set out to create a structured one-year training program designed to lead to full-time moldmaking positions with the company. 

“We’re raising the bar for the industry, and this program represents a substantial investment on our part,” King says. “However, it will pay off for us by providing a new generation of savvy and highly trained manufacturing experts.”

This program is not limited to students. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in moldmaking is invited to apply for the next class, which is anticipated to begin this fall. The initial class was developed in partnership with the Greater Essex County District School Board’s Ontario Youth Apprentice Program (OYAP) and the Dual Credit Program associated with St. Clair College. 

Here is how the program worksThe first eight trainees began work on February 6th, and those who successfully complete the program will graduate February 1, 2019. Six are 11th grade OYAP high school students, who are working on a one-year, paid co-op placement, while two are current dual credit students in the St. Clair College General Machinist Program. All eight are working on a full-time basis at Unique Tool and Gauge, receiving salary and benefits.

The program participants will learn and develop skills, including CNC machining, computer-based mold design, EDM operation, critical tolerance machining operations and mold construction. The goal is to have trainees placed in full-time positions within the selected department at which they excelled during their 12-month experience.

At the close of the program, the 11th-grade high school OYAP students will return to their respective schools to complete high school and receive their diplomas on time with other members of the class.

Those enrolled in the eight-week St. Clair College General Machinist Program will return to complete the second half of their program. Upon completion of their school studies, successful graduates of the training program will return to Unique to assume full-time positions and begin their careers.

Partictipating students also include those from the St. Clair College Dual Credit program, Herman High School, Villanova High School and General Amherst High School.

Instructors for this program include one of Unique’s master moldmakers.