Students Across Canada Are Building Ships

They say the best way to learn is by doing, so Irving Shipbuilding in partnership with the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), developed a classroom activity for students across Canada to build their very own Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), and experience what it’s like to be a shipbuilder.   

A team of engineers, quality inspectors, and project managers from Halifax Shipyard came together to design the activity. Students will use authentic technical drawings (commonly called blueprints) to cut exterior and interior pieces, build three separate mega-blocks, assemble the mega-blocks into a complete ship, and float the ship. This mimics the progressive build process used at Halifax Shipyard, but on a much smaller scale. 

Building AOPS at the COVE facility in Dartmouth.

Irving Shipbuilding currently employs over 1900 people and that number will grow when construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants begins. It’s important for youth to understand the career opportunities available in the shipbuilding and marine industries. This is one reason why Irving Shipbuilding has supported the work of Dr. Sherry Scully and her team focused on workforce and skills development at COVE. Dr. Scully and partners have developed a series of ocean related activities like Build-an-AOPS for teachers to bring the ocean into the classroom across the country. Irving Shipbuilding has provided $950K to date as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy Value Proposition for research and program development to shape the future marine workforce.

In May 2019, students at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax raced to build their own AOPS as part of an essential skills demonstration. The activity has been done at workshops and in classrooms in Nova Scotia, Alberta, and British Columbia, and will no doubt continue to inspire future shipbuilders across Canada. 

The activity is available here, and includes instructions, extension activities, and a material list. 

Students build their own AOPS at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax, May 2019.
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