Irving Shipbuilding, NSCC and Women Unlimited launch second women in shipbuilding program

Irving Shipbuilding, Women Unlimited and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) are working to address the gender gap in shipbuilding through a unique program for under and unemployed women hosted at NSCC’s Akerley Campus.

Twenty women will be accepted into the second phase of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence-Women Unlimited Partnership Program. Upon successful completion of a 14-week career exploration program, the female students will enroll in the College’s welding or metal fabrication diploma programs.

The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence and the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation will provide successful applicants with educational bursaries for each of the two years of the program. Successful graduates who meet employment eligibility criteria will be hired by Irving Shipbuilding as positions become available.

“Irving Shipbuilding is committed to modernizing the face of shipbuilding in Canada and attracting talent from all segments of the Canadian workforce” said Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding. “This Program is an opportunity for 20 talented women to learn a skilled trade and become part of the next generation of shipbuilders building Canada’s future naval fleet.”
“The CWA Foundation is honoured to be a part of this initiative to support women pursuing a career in the welding industry” said Deborah Mates, CWA Foundation Executive Director. “Partnering with the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence is a great example of industry working together to address the welding skills trade shortage in Canada.”
“We’re very excited to be starting the next round of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence-Women Unlimited Partnership Program,” said Doreen Parsons, CEO of Women Unlimited. “We have a ten-year history of supporting women to both study and work in the trades and technologies and of supporting industry to address the barriers that limit the participation of diverse women in these fields.”

Fewer than five per cent of skilled tradespeople in Canada are women. Women Unlimited is working, not only to increase the number of women working at Irving Shipbuilding, but to enhance opportunities for women in all trades-related industries.

“This program changed my life,” said Antonia Wareham, a welding student and a participant in the 2015 cohort of the program. “The support has been fantastic. They made it so stress-free that I could just buckle down and focus on school.”

Prior to starting the NSCC trades program, the successful applicants will complete a 14-week Career Exploration Program with Women Unlimited. This Women Unlimited program will begin in March 2017 at NSCC Akerley Campus with the Metal Fabrication and Welding Diploma programs beginning September 2017.

Women interested in applying for this exciting program can contact Women Unlimited at 902.491.2008 or through The deadline for applications is February 17, 2017.


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