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Indigenous students’ Pathways to Shipbuilding journey complete with employment

Twelve students in the Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Students program graduated with their Diploma in Metal Fabrication on Friday, July 6, at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and were immediately offered full-time employment with Halifax Shipyard, Canada’s National Shipbuilder.

On Monday, July 9, six of the graduates started work at Halifax Shipyard and by the end of August 2018, all 12 of the graduates will be employed as first-year apprentices, proudly building and maintaining the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet.

Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Students is designed to create pathways and support for Indigenous Canadians to enter the shipbuilding industry. Facilitated through the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence, the program began with a 14-week preparatory training program focused on personal and academic readiness and metal fabrication career exploration. 

Indigenous drummers and dancers lead graduates out after the convocation.

The two-year metal fabrication program included mentoring and coaching by community and industry supporters, and two work terms at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard.

Pathways to Shipbuilding is a unique collaboration of ten industry, government, academic and Indigenous partners including Irving Shipbuilding Inc., GE Canada, Unifor, NSCC, Indigenous Services Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, and Labour and Advanced Education.

The Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre is the lead community partner and worked with other Indigenous organizations to provide support services to the students. The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence is currently supporting a Pathways to Shipbuilding program for women with Women Unlimited, and another for African Nova Scotians with the East Preston Empowerment Academy. Students of these programs are scheduled to graduate from NSCC in 2019 and 2020 respectively.


Kevin McCoy, President, Irving Shipbuilding

“I am pleased to welcome the graduates of the Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Students to our team at Halifax Shipyard. As was evident during their recent work terms, this class has the potential to be among the best shipbuilders in the world and greatly contribute to the future of the Royal Canadian Navy.”
 Bradley Paul, Pathways to Shipbuilding graduate from Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation

“I’m looking forward to starting work at Halifax Shipyard with my classmates, and being an Ironworker. My experience in the program was a great one.”
Candice Perly, Pathways to Shipbuilding graduate from Tobique First Nation

“It was a big life change, but it was a great experience. Irving Shipbuilding and the partners were there every step of the way. Now, I’m looking forward to a career in shipbuilding.”

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