Irving Shipbuilding has set its sights on Newfoundland and Labrador workers in a bid to fill jobs as it ramps up construction on a massive contract for the Canadian government at its Halifax yard.

The company is hosting a job fair in Marystown Wednesday at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre from 2-8 p.m., and has immediate openings for 50 welders, 50 pipefitters and 25 ironworkers.

The company is also recruiting engineers with experience in shipbuilding.

Irving's hiring blitz begins as Newfoundland and Labrador prepares for an expected drop in demand for skilled trades work as construction on major projects such as Hebron and Muskrat Falls winds down in the coming years.

Irving is offering long-term opportunities on what it is describing as a "generational" project.

Ending the boom, bust cycle

Irving began work this week on the first of up to 21 new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy.

It's part of a $25-billion, 30-year contract that is expected to dramatically bolster and stabilize the Canadian shipbuilding industry, which has previously been plagued by a series of boom and bust cycles.

HMCS William

A concept design of one of the new Arctic/Offshore Patrol ships that will be built in Halifax as part of the Irving Shipbuilding contract. (CBC)

The company is serving notice that even though the work is based in Nova Scotia, there are benefits for people and companies from Newfoundland and Labrador.

"We're very much looking forward to working with Atlantic Canadians and those who have an interest in pursuing an opportunity at the shipyard," said Mary Keith, vice-president of communications with Irving Shipbuilding.

More job openings expected

The contract includes the next generation of combatant vessels for the navy, beginning with new Arctic/Offshore Patrol ships.

The second wave of ships will include larger warships to replace the current fleet of frigates.

The company has invested some $350 million to revitalize the shipyard in Halifax, and now boasts the largest "undercover" shipbuilding facility in North America.

The Marystown event follows similar job fairs held in Halifax, Fort McMurray and Sydney.

Job openings are also advertised on the company's website at

"As we ramp up … we are going to see a significant increase in the number of skilled trades that we require," Keith said.

With files from Anthony Germain