Pathways to Shipbuilding African Nova Scotian Students celebrate first milestone on journey to become shipbuilders

The twenty students in the Pathways to Shipbuilding African Nova Scotian Program have reached a major milestone in their journey to becoming welders at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard.

On December 12, 2018, the class celebrated the end of the 14-week preparatory program. The celebration was particularly special as all 20 students successfully completed the mandatory introductory program and will move on to start their two-year welding diploma at NSCC.

The event, hosted at Nova Scotia Community College’s Akerley Campus, was alive with celebration and excitement. The students entered to the beat of an African drum performed by Sobaz Benjamin, and heard words of congratulations and support from Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotia Affairs, Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding, and Joel Marsman, Pathways Coordinator at the East Preston Empowerment Academy.  El Jones, poet, professor, and activist read an inspiring poem she wrote specifically for the class.

The students received not only their certificate of completion from NSCC, but also a letter from Irving Shipbuilding stating a commitment to hire the students if they are successful in their studies and as position are available. 

The students will begin their welding program in January 2019 and are scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2020. 

Unique Jones-MacKenzie speaks on behalf of his fellow classmates at the celebration

Speaking on behalf of his classmates, Unique Jones-MacKenzie told those in attendance of the determination and commitment of the class to achieve their end goal. “We don’t get tired and we don’t give up. We are all very excited to start our journey with the goal of working at Irving Shipbuilding.”

Representatives from many of the organizations that support the program were in attendance to celebrate with the students. 

Program partners include,

  •  Irving Shipbuilding
  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • East Preston Empowerment Academy
  • Nova Scotia Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs
  • Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Advanced Education
  • Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
  • The CWB Welding Foundation
  • The NSCC Foundation
  • Unifor
  • Employment Nova Scotia
  • YMCA Dartmouth
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