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NSCC and Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence Launch New Pathways Program for People of African Descent

Irving Shipbuilding (ISI) and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) – through the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence – are again working with community and government partners to launch another cohort of the Pathways to Shipbuilding program.

The program will focus on People of African Descent who will study Metal Fabrication at the College’s Akerley Campus. They will begin their program in July 2024 and are expected to graduate in March 2026.

The community partner supporting the program is The Africadian Empowerment Academy (AEA). Our government funding partners include the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, and Department of Labour, Skills & Immigration.

Those who apply and are selected to participate will begin their pathway with an eight-week preparatory course, followed by a two-year diploma program in Metal Fabrication at NSCC, including work-terms at Halifax Shipyard with Irving Shipbuilding. Upon graduation, 20 successful students who meet hiring requirements will have an opportunity for employment building ships for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard with Irving Shipbuilding as positions are available.

“This is an exciting opportunity to launch the sixth pathways program – the second specific to People of African Descent. This will support our organizational mission to grow and develop skills needed by our workforce in the shipbuilding and marine sectors. We are committed to growing a diverse and inclusive workforce, and focusing our attention to underrepresented groups is crucial to diversifying our workforce”, says Nadine O’Neill, VP Human Resources at Irving Shipbuilding.

The Africadian Empowerment Academy President, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard says, “We are pleased to be the community partner on this initiative, building on the success of the first People of African Descent Cohort. Eight of our graduates from that cohort now have their Red Seal in Welding. The provision of holistic support and an Africentric focus are foundational to AEA’s partnership in this initiative.”

Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration says “Our government is committed to getting more skilled trades professionals in the workforce faster and reducing barriers for individuals looking to enter the skilled trades. That's why we announced a $100 million investment in October to recruit, train and retain more people in the skilled trades. The goal is to add up to 5,000 more new apprentices to the system in the next three years, increase the number of journeypersons and trades qualifiers taking on apprentices by 1,000 a year and increase the retention rate to certification of apprentices from 43 per cent to 60 per cent – one of the highest in the country – within five years. Tried and tested programs like Pathways to Shipbuilding help us achieve those goals and make sure individuals of all backgrounds get the opportunities they deserve. We are very happy to support this highly successful program again.”

“I'm delighted about the new Pathways to Shipbuilding program for people of African descent. This initiative marks an important move towards equitable education and job opportunities in our community. It showcases the strength of collaboration, aiming to enhance workforce diversity through critical work skills. I am confident this program will lead to rewarding careers for participants and foster an inclusive future for people of African descent in our province,” says Twila Grosse, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

NSCC President Don Bureaux commented, “I’m so excited we are again partnering with Irving Shipbuilding through the Centre of Excellence to launch a new Metal Fabrication Pathway Program for People of African Descent in 2024. With the support of our team at NSCC’s Akerley Campus, our close community partnership with the Africadian Empowerment Academy-- as well as solid commitment from additional partners – I believe the group of students who choose this steppingstone toward work in the marine industry will find both personal and professional success.”

A 2020 graduate of the first Pathways program cohort for People of African Descent African Nova Scotian, Sattina Dabb, noted how positive the experience was and how it prepared her for a career in the marine industry. Sattina says, “The program provided me with a chance to learn a skilled trade – that allows me to provide for my family, while creating a quality product that I am proud to be a part of. Along my learning journey I developed relationships that will last me a lifetime.”

Eligibility for the program includes:

  • People of African Descent interested in building a career in shipbuilding as metal fabricators.
  • Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.
  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Participants will be required to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia throughout the program.
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete Canadian Government Security Clearances.
  • For more information and to apply: https://www.africadian.org/shipbuilding

NSCC Metal Fabrication Diploma Program

  • The NSCC Metal Fabrication studies focus on how to build, assemble and repair products made of steel and other metals for use in a wide variety of industries.
    Learn more about the program.

For more information contact:

The Africadian Empowerment Academy

Executive Director
Omolara Ogunbosi
TEL: 902-229-7760

Irving Shipbuilding Inc.
Mel Schori, Director, Communications and Government Relations
Email; Schori.Mel@irvingshipbuilding.com
(902) 266-8003

Kathleen Cameron, NSCC Communications

Communications Nova Scotia
Sarah MacNeil
Communications Advisor


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