Hundreds of hopeful workers attended Irving Shipbuilding's first job fair for the new shipbuilding contract at the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth on Tuesday.

The company says 200 jobs, including welders, pipefitters and ironworkers, are up for grabs in the much-anticipated navy deal.

Construction of new Arctic Patrol Ships is planned to get underway on September 1. 

"Interviews are actually underway with those who have completed the first part of the process and we look forward to following up with them afterwards," said Mary Keith, vice president of communications for Irving. 

Maritimers of all age ranges and trade skills lined up to hand in their resumes.

"I'm a journeyman red seal welder and I thought I'd come on down and put a resume in," said welder Stephen Irving, of New Brunswick.

"I've worked for the Irvings before and I thought it would be a great chance for the future for me to finish up retirement."

While some may be looking to continue their careers, others are looking for a foot in the door. 

"I grew up in the Valley and I'm actually graduating today from welding," said Kirsten Stevenson.

Kirsten Stevenson, welder

Kirsten Stevenson says she believes the odds of being hired as a welder for Irving are in her favour. (CBC)

"I came here today hoping to get an opportunity with Irving to meet and greet with a couple of different people and see what opportunities they have for me for working."

Kirsten said there seemed to be a lot of competition, based on the number of people that showed up for the fair. 

"But, I'm fairly confident that, at the end of the day … they'll be hiring some pretty good welders." 

Irving will plan two more job fairs in Canada — in Sydney on July 15, and Fort McMurray on July 8.