The Pathways to Shipbuilding Program is breaking systemic and historic barriers and is creating real opportunities for African Nova Scotians. Our hope is that this program will become a model that can and will be used in other fields. ~Senator, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Vice-President of the Board, East Preston Empowerment Academy
African Nova Scotians interested in learning more about the program and submitting an application can visit https://epeacademy.com/pathways-to-shipbuilding/.
Antonia Wareham, a graduate of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence Pathways program with Women Unlimited says she hopes the program will 'light a spark for others' to follow the path she has taken to now apprentice at the shipyard.
A new program launched in April will provide 20 African Nova Scotians with an opportunity to study welding at NSCC and secure careers with Halifax Shipyard building the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet.
A collaboration of industry, academia, government, and African Nova Scotian community partners, Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians is an Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence program. It will include a 14-week program comprised of personal readiness, academic refreshers, and essential skills training with career exploration focused on welding and metal trades. Upon successful completion of the readiness program, students will begin the pre-apprenticeship welding diploma program at NSCC.
Partners of Pathways to Shipbuilding for African Nova Scotians include Irving Shipbuilding, NSCC, Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Advanced Education – Skills and Learning branch, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, East Preston Empowerment Academy (EPEA), Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, CWB Welding Foundation, and the NSCC Foundation.
The program will start in September 2018 with graduation in June 2020. Successful graduates who meet employment eligibility criteria will join Halifax Shipyard’s more than 1,800 shipbuilders proudly building Canada’s future naval fleet, as positions become available.
Once 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.
Kevin McCoy, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. President, says, “As Canada’s National Shipbuilder, we hire the best shipbuilders to join our team building Canada’s future naval fleet at Halifax Shipyard. To do this we need more individuals from groups currently underrepresented in shipbuilding. This Pathways to Shipbuilding program will create opportunities for African Nova Scotians to learn a trade and establish a path to a long-term career proudly building ships for Canada.”
The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence currently offers bursaries and programs for underrepresented groups in shipbuilding, including Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Canadians and a partnership with Women Unlimited for under- or unemployed women.
NSCC President Don Bureaux says, “Our partnerships with both Women Unlimited and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre have been successful in opening the door for those communities underrepresented in the marine sector. As a College, we’re so pleased to add a new partnership with the African Nova Scotian community to expand this opportunity.”
EPEA is the program’s community partner and will collaborate with a wide network of agencies and groups to meet the needs of the program and its participants. EPEA is currently working with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency in supporting people of African descent in achieving their Red Seal trade certifications.
One of the graduates of the Centre of Excellence Women Unlimited Pathway program, Antonia Wareham, says she hopes the new program will ‘light a spark for others’ to follow the path she has taken to now apprentice with Irving Shipbuilding.