Pathways to Shipbuilding for Mi’kmaw and Indigenous People: Class of 2021

The partners in the Pathways to Shipbuilding program are launching a new class for Mi’kmaw and Indigenous Canadians. The program will be supported by the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), GE Canada, the Government of Canada, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Participants will focus on studies in Industrial Mechanical and Marine - Industrial Rigging at NSCC’s Institute of Technology Campus in Halifax. Pathways students will complete a readiness program including courses in math, communications and college study skills before beginning their trades certification programs. The program is set to begin in June 2020 and will include work terms at Halifax Shipyard with Irving Shipbuilding. Upon graduation, successful students who meet hiring requirements will have an opportunity for employment building ships for the Royal Canadian Navy with Irving Shipbuilding as positions are available.

Irving Shipbuilding is the most modern shipbuilder and in-service support provider in North America and is growing its team. Currently employing more than 2,000 shipbuilders, including over 1,100 tradespeople building and maintaining the Royal Canadian Navy’s current and future fleet, Irving Shipbuilding employment numbers are forecast to increase to more than 2,400 over the next ten years.

What: NSCC training program for Industrial Mechanical (Millwrights) and Marine - Industrial Rigging

When: June 2020 –September 2021

Where: NSCC Institute of Technology Campus – 5685 Leeds Street, Halifax, NS

How to Apply: Contact the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre at

Who should apply:

    • Mi’kmaw and Indigenous People interested in careers in shipbuilding as engine fitters, riggers, crane operators, etc.
    • Must hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residency
    • Must have high school graduation 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

What is Industrial Mechanics?

The modern industrial plant uses a wide range of mechanical equipment, all of which require installation, maintenance and repair at some point in its operation. This program prepares you for an entry-level position in the Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) trade. This is a designated Red Seal trade in Nova Scotia under the authority of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. NSCC offers the Industrial Mechanical pre-apprenticeship and graduates can work toward their Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) Red Seal trade certification when they register as an apprentice.

In this trade, you install, repair and maintain industrial plant machinery and equipment. You read and interpret blueprints; dismantle and move stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment; install, troubleshoot and maintain power transmission, vacuum, hydraulic and pneumatic systems. You also operate a variety of machine tools and welding equipment

What is Marine Industrial Rigging?

Whether it's working on a heavy equipment jobsite or building complicated rigging systems for other projects, qualified riggers protect lives every day and are a vital part of many industries in Nova Scotia.

As a rigger, you are responsible for lifting and moving objects or loads with cranes, ropes, pulleys, chain hoists and other equipment. In this program, you develop the competencies, skills and knowledge you need to work in the rigging field by learning:

    • How to accurately assess the size and weight of heavy objects
    • The capacity of rigging devices and hoisting ropes, slings and other equipment
    • Operating procedures for effective rigging, lifting and landing of heavy loads
    • Hazardous factors associated with rigging operations and safe work practices
    • How to fabricate, inspect, install and repair rigging slings and lift equipment

Additional Information for NEOs and Community Organizations

Program costs will be covered including tuition, student fees, etc. Financial assistance with living expenses will be dealt with on an individual basis.

About Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence After being selected to build the Royal Canadian Navy’s future combat fleet as part of the Government of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, Irving Shipbuilding and NSCC established the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence to respond to the growing need for skilled workers and to diversify the workforce available to build ships for Canada. Irving Shipbuilding has committed to investing $250,000 per year in the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence for the duration of its National Shipbuilding Strategy contracts. The Centre currently offers bursaries and programs for underrepresented groups in shipbuilding, including Pathways to Shipbuilding for Mi’kmaw and Indigenous Canadians and a partnership with Women Unlimited for under- or unemployed women. There is a Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotian Students program in progress, scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2020.


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