Our Stories

People and careers

Jason Horton, 2022 Irving Shipbuilding Apprentice of the Year

Jason Horton has been named the 2022 winner of the Ron Starkey Apprentice of the Year Award at Halifax Shipyard. Jason was among a record 73 skilled trades shipbuilders who achieved Red Seal certification in 2022.

Left to right: Shannon Sampson - President of Unifor MWF Local 1, Jason Horton - 2022 Apprentice of the Year, Dirk Lesko - President of Irving Shipbuilding

Jason joined Irving Shipbuilding in December of 2021 as a Welder apprentice and took no time to make his mark. In a few short months, he was selected to compete in the Skills Nova Scotia competition for welding and achieved silver for his category in April of 2022. Jason was also internally recognized as Apprentice of The Month for his hard work. Since then, Jason has been dedicated to sharpening his skills and sharing his knowledge to his teammates.

“The sky is the limit,” say Jason. “As an apprentice Welder for Irving Shipbuilding there are so many opportunities to enhances your skills and knowledge by being able to work in different areas of the ship throughout the build progress. When I joined, I felt like that gave me the runway and I was able to take off.”

First presented in 2014, the Irving Shipbuilding Apprentice of the Year Award is named after veteran Halifax shipbuilder Ron Starkey, who began as an Apprentice Machinist at Halifax Shipyard in 1987. Ron earned his Red Seal and took great pride in developing Apprentices. Ron passed away in 2013 after a courageous battle with ALS.

“Jason demonstrates the core values of apprenticeship through his dedication to continuous learning, exceptional performance on-the-job, positive attitude, and a passion for helping others to be successful,” says Shawn McKillop, Team Lead - Apprenticeship Program.

Along with the Apprentice of The Year recognition, skilled tradespeople who standout for their exceptional work in their respective trades were also recognized. These awards are presented to individuals for trades with five or more Red Seal recipients. Congratulations to the winners: Iain Meredith (Welder), Drew Graham (Electrician), and Kyle Robichaud (Metal Fabricator).

Left to right: Iain Meredith – Welder, Drew Graham – Electrician, Kyle Robichaud – Metal Fabricator

Irving Shipbuilding is proud to be the largest employer of skilled apprentices in Atlantic Canada. The company also provides full time Skill Coaches to support apprentices on their career journey to Red Seal – a first for Canada. The company also continues to pay its skilled trades while they are completing required block training at the local community college.

Congratulations to all our new Red Seals. We are proud of the work you do and all your accomplishments. We hope you will strive to be positive mentors for the apprentices following in your footsteps!


Follow us on social media.