Pathways to Shipbuilding is a program designed to create opportunities and support for people from underrepresented communities to enter the shipbuilding industry. It is a collaborative project developed through the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence in response to the growing need for skilled workers to build ships. Using a cohort model, the Pathways program provides additional lead-in readiness and wrap around supports for students in skilled trades. To date there have been five Pathways graduating classes with two graduating classes of women in metal trades (metal fabrication & welding), two graduating classes of Indigenous students (1 in metal fabrication and 1 in pipe trades) and one graduating class of Black/African Nova Scotian students in welding.
The 2024/26 Pathways to Shipbuilding for People of African Descent program will support twenty (20) students who identify as Black/African Nova Scotian towards their diploma in Metal Fabrication at NSCC. Graduates will continue as apprentices in the shipbuilding sector and can progress their careers as tradespeople to Red Seal level.
Key partner organizations are NSCC, Irving Shipbuilding Inc, The Africadian Empowerment Academy (AEA), the NS Department of Labour, Skills & Immigration (Employment Nova Scotia), the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, the NSCC Foundation, the African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) and the YMCA Nova Scotia Works Employment Services Centre (Y-NS Works).
Academic & Personal Readiness Module - an 8-week readiness module delivered by NSCC involving personal readiness, academic refreshers, essential skills, introduction to the trade, and safety. Students will be given hands-on experience in shops and will visit the Halifax shipyard in preparation for the NSCC 2-year Metal Fabrication Diploma program. AEA will provide additional Africentric programming and student support.
NSCC Metal Fabrication Diploma Program – students who have successfully completed the readiness module and meet admission requirements will transition into the 2-year Metal Fabrication Diploma Program at Akerley Campus, Dartmouth. AEA will have a space on-campus as well to provide continued support.
Employment– successful graduates who meet the hiring criteria of Irving Shipbuilding Inc. may be hired and registered as Metal Fabricator apprentices with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. The apprentices will continue their apprenticeship pathway through to certification. Graduates who do not work at Irving Shipbuilding will be supported as they secure employment elsewhere.
Career progression & support – graduates will be supported as they transition into the workplace and are provided support as they progress in their careers and work towards their Red Seal certification.
Recruitment of students: January-April 2024
Student selection & confirmation: May 2024
Readiness module: July 2-August 30, 2024
Metal Fabrication Diploma Program: September 2024-February 2026
20 students who self-identify as People of African Descent
Selection process will be led by AEA with input from partner organizations
The program has an Afrocentric* cultural perspective, beginning with a 8-week program that includes personal and professional readiness, academic refreshers, and essential skills training with career exploration focused on metal trades. Upon successful completion of the readiness program and the career exploration phase, students will transition into the Metal Fabrication Diploma program offered at NSCC Akerley Campus. Metal Fabrication was chosen as the focus of the program as there is expected demand at Irving Shipbuilding for graduates in this skilled trade. Upon graduation from the Metal Fabrication Diploma program, if the student meets the hiring requirements for Irving Shipbuilding, they could be hired as apprentices as positions become available at the Halifax Shipyard.
Pathways to Shipbuilding is facilitated through the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence at Nova Scotia Community College, which supports under-represented groups in the workforce, such as Indigenous Canadians, African Nova Scotians, and Women.
The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence (CoE) project at NSCC was established to support the growth and development of the skills needed by the workforce in the shipbuilding and marine sectors. The project supports programming that include Pathways to shipbuilding to provide equitable access to opportunities for underrepresented communities.
Irving Shipbuilding is Canada’s National Shipbuilder, selected in 2011 to build the new fleet of combat vessels to the Royal Canadian Navy. To date, four Arctic and Offshore Patrol ships (AOPS) have been delivered and a further two are underway. The company will also build two custom AOPS for the Canadian Coast Guard before commencing the larger Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Fleet. To date over $6.6 billion in investments have been made across Canada as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Our team of 2,400+ shipbuilders are proudly based in Halifax, NS and includes the largest team of apprentices in Atlantic Canada. www.shipsforcanada.ca
The Africadian Empowerment Academy’s (AEA) mandate is to empower and equip people of African descent to become full participants and be recognized in the fabric of Nova Scotia’s vibrant economy. Our mission is to assist participants in our programs to achieve academic skills and qualifications for future employment and entrepreneurial pursuits. We also actively encourage and equip our learners to seek the highest level of education possible, regardless of their lack of past accomplishments or the barriers that kept them from achieving their goals. Using an Africentric focus, we seek to empower and equip members of our community with the necessary skills, tools, and confidence to fulfill their lifelong dreams, with a specific focus on skill and trade development, adult learning, and youth academic enrichment.
AEA collaborated with the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence (CoE) project at NSCC and Irving Shipbuilding Incorporated to implement Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians (Welding) program from 2018 to 2020 where all the 20 participants graduated successfully. AEA has been selected as the community partner to co-implement the Pathways to Shipbuilding for People of African Descent (Metal Fabrication) program with the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence (CoE) project at NSCC and Irving Shipbuilding Incorporated from 2024-2026
The selection process may include a discussion with reps from AEA, Irving Shipbuilding or NSCC. More information will be provided.
People of African descent interested in learning more about the program and submitting an application can visit https://www.africadian.org/shipbuilding. Applications and required documents must be received by AEA on or before April 1, 2024.
If graduates meet the hiring requirements for Irving Shipbuilding, they may be hired as Metal Fabrication apprentices as positions become available in 2026 and beyond.
If you have any questions, please contact us right away as the deadline for applications is fast approaching. Applications are due April 1, 2024.