Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia revisits apprenticeship program

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More announced Tuesday that an advisory panel will get advice on how to strengthen the apprenticeship system.
The Construction Association of Nova Scotia says 7,000 new skilled trades people will be needed over the next seven years. (CBC)

The provincial government is making moves to improve Nova Scotia's apprenticeship program.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More announced Tuesday that an advisory panel will get advice on how to strengthen the apprenticeship system.

It's the latest step in a review of the system that began a year ago.

The province said it wants to hear from employers on what they can do to ensure apprentices are ready to enter the workforce in Nova Scotia.

The panel will look at how to get people ready for jobs more quickly with combined training, offering more online options and training programs with other provinces.

It includes representatives from companies such as L.E. Cruickshanks Sheet Metal, JW Lindsay and Irving Shipbuilding.

According to the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, 7,000 new skilled trades people will be needed over the next seven years to fill a widening labour gap.

There are less than 6,000 apprentices in the province and both union and non-union employers appointed to advise the province said the rules need to change so more trades people can be trained more quickly.

They said they want the government to allow senior tradespeople to supervise two apprentices at a time, instead of one.

The non-union shops also said they want the provincial government to abolish the fourth year of the apprenticeship program like Saskatchewan has done.

In its first meeting later this month, the panel will look at solutions that build on what the province has heard from apprentices, trainers and employers during the past year.

The apprenticeship review report is slated to be ready in the spring.

With files from The Canadian Press

now