Apprenticeship Team wins Apprenticeship Award of Excellence

The Irving Shipbuilding Inc. Apprenticeship Team is a proud recipient of the Apprenticeship Award of Excellence for their efforts in developing a robust Apprenticeship program. On October 28, Cathy Young, Senior Manager, Apprenticeship Program and Shawn McKillop, Development Lead, were presented with the award given by the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

“We congratulate the outstanding dedication and work of the Irving Shipbuilding team. This award celebrates employers that recognize the importance of investing in apprenticeship training and understand its value to both apprentices and businesses. Irving Shipbuilding provides extensive support to its apprentices and actively embraces diversity and inclusion in these efforts,” says Marjorie Davison, CEO, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

Ships for Canada from the Halifax Shipyard means the company is largest employer of apprentices in Nova Scotia.

“The ships we are building for those who serve in Canada’s Navy is a generational opportunity. We know that developing our apprentices into skilled, safety and quality focused shipbuilders is key to building a strong and effective future workforce. This award is a real tribute to the wider team - production supervisors, journeypersons, trainers, managers and key stakeholders all of whom are committed to the development of our apprentices. We have had such support from the company who share our belief in the importance of investing in our apprentices as they are the future of the business. We want our apprentices to feel supported and to understand the importance of the Irving Values in creating a respectful and positive working environment” explains Cathy Young, Senior Apprenticeship Manager.

This year, 31 apprentices have earned their Red Seal and 35 are currently in school on their final block of training.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. Apprenticeship Program

Our Apprenticeship Team participates in recruitment and have created an induction package to support apprentices from the outset. Safety and quality are golden threads that run through the program with a series of initiatives implemented in conjunction with our safety and quality teams. Apprentices now take part in safety and quality learning walks, attend discussions with the safety director and discuss these key topics in reviews. Safety extends to wellbeing with new processes implemented to ensure support for apprentices.

Part of our recruitment efforts for apprentices is through the Pathways to Shipbuilding program that strives for diversity and equity in Canadian shipbuilding. Our Apprenticeship Team actively supports our Pathway graduates and have prepared mentors for the newly recruited Pathway to Shipbuilding group for Indigenous students. The team aims to develop all apprentices holistically so they will become empathetic and effective mentors for future apprentices. In 2019, Irving Shipbuilding received the Employee Equity Achievement Award for outstanding commitment to employment equity through the Pathways to Shipbuilding program, read more here.

Graduates of the 2019 Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Canadians

“Our Apprentices are now aware of expectations and the team strive to be positive role models. As a result of the new program, apprentices report that they feel cared for, supported and encouraged to progress. As we look ahead at our forecasted future growth, we see the opportunity to train and develop even more Apprentices,” says Shawn McKillop.

The company is currently hiring skilled tradespeople and between 2022 and 2024 if forecasting over 450 new hires. Check out opportunities to join our team here.

Shawn McKillop (right) presenting Denise Watters (left), Welder, with the Irving Shipbuilding Certificate of Completion at our Red Seal celebration in September.

Photo credit: Kelly Clark Fotography

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