First-ever Pathways to Shipbuilding Program for African Nova Scotians Concludes at Halifax Shipyard

The first-ever Pathways to Shipbuilding Program for African Nova Scotians concluded today at Halifax Shipyard where students had been working on their final practical training in the two-year welding program.

East Preston Empowerment Academy hosted program partners today at the shipyard to acknowledge the success of the program. All 20 students who began the program in 2018 are scheduled to graduate, including 13 with Honours.

The program was disrupted in March due to the current pandemic. Program partners developed a revised plan that saw the students arrive at Halifax Shipyard four weeks ago so they could resume their practical training to obtain their four Flux Core Arc Welding tickets required by the Canadian Welding Bureau (WCB) in order to work in shipbuilding. Irving Shipbuilding also covered the tuition and testing fees for the students.

Program partners include the Province of Nova Scotia, East Preston Empowerment Academy, Irving Shipbuilding, Nova Scotia Community College, Nova Scotia Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, Labour & Advanced Education, Employment NS, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, Canadian Welding Bureau, YMCA Dartmouth, and Human Resource & Skills Development Canada, Workforce Development

Program partners in attendance today included:

  • The Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
  • Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax
  • Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour
  • Hon. Geoff Regan, Member of Parliament for Halifax West
  • The Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of the Public service Commission and Minister of African Nova Scotians Affairs
  • Don Bureaux, President of NSCC
  • Danielle Hodges, Administrative support, East Preston Empowerment Academy
  • Shelley Fashan, Project Coordinator, Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians, East Preston Empowerment Academy
  • Kevin McCoy, President, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.
  • Ryan LaPointe, Unifor-MWF Local 1 President

During the remarks, Irving Shipbuilding President Kevin McCoy informed the students that upon successful conclusion of their program and obtaining the necessary WCB welding tickets and other clearances, the students would be offered positions as welders at Halifax Shipyard.

This is the fourth Pathways to Shipbuilding program, building on the previous Pathways for Women and for Indigenous peoples. A fifth Pathways to Shipbuilding program is currently under development for Indigenous peoples.

In her remarks, the Hon. Bernadette Jordan congratulated Irving Shipbuilding on recently being named a winner of a 2019 Employment Equity Achievement Award for Outstanding Commitment to Employment Equity. The award, from Employment and Social development Canada, was in recognition of the Pathways to Shipbuilding Program.

Minister Bernadette Jordan
Minister Tony Ince
Irving Shipbuilding President, Kevin McCoy

The Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard - “If we want to achieve a more diverse workforce, one that gives opportunities to racialized and under-represented Canadians, we need to do the work and recruit people like African Canadians, women, Indigenous peoples, and then train and empower them to launch their careers with confidence. With the Pathways to Shipbuilding Program, we know that Irving is committed to that work. Our government is proud to support this program, and to celebrate these young African Nova Scotians who will now launch their careers in a trade that is so central to Canada’s economy and culture.”

The Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of the Public Service Commission and Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs - “The Pathways to Shipbuilding Program for African Nova Scotians has been a huge success. The key to building a more inclusive and equitable province is collaboration with community organizations and industries to create initiatives that benefit all Nova Scotians.”

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament, Halifax - “Organizations big and small have a responsibility to act with intention to give underrepresented groups the access, support, resources, and training they need to succeed. That is exactly the aim of the Pathways program. I look forward to the continued success of this program in the years to come, and offer my sincere congratulations to these new shipbuilders who will help build the next fleet of the Canadian Royal Navy right here in Halifax.”

Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour - “When we promote and value inclusion and diversity, we strengthen workplaces, industries and our country. We believe in Pathways to Shipbuilding and the incredible experience and skills the program provides Nova Scotia’s future shipbuilders.”

Kevin McCoy, President, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. - “We have been tremendously impressed by these students and were pleased to be able to make offers to have them to join our team of world-class shipbuilders here at Halifax Shipyard to build ships for Canada. We believe in the Pathways to Shipbuilding initiative and know that by working with our community partners, we will continue to strengthen our organization by expanding our reach to include all those who are looking for rewarding, long-term shipbuilding careers here at home in Nova Scotia.”

Shelley Fashan, Project Coordinator, Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians, East Preston Empowerment Academy - “The EPEA extends sincere Congratulations to these 20 Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotian Welding grads who are celebrating the successful completion of their two-year program today. We are so very proud of their success and know that they will continue their journeys to become Red Seal Certified Welders. Thanks to our partners at Nova Scotia Community College, Irving Shipbuilding, Nova Scotia Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs.” #CelebratingExcellence #LeadingChange

Don Bureaux - “Congratulations to the most recent graduates of the Pathways to Shipbuilding program who persevered through a pandemic to achieve their goals. We are proud to be a partner in this vital program.”

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