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Twenty women complete first phase of metal trades shipbuilding program

June 28, 2017 – Media Release

Dartmouth, NS – Today (June 28), 20 women participating in the second class of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence – Women Unlimited Partnership Program celebrated the first phase of their journey to become welders and ironworkers at the Halifax Shipyard.

The women, who participated in Women Unlimited's 14-week Career Exploration Program in the Metal Trades, are now set to enter NSCC’s metal fabrication or welding diploma programs at Akerley Campus in September. This is only the second group of women to take part in this innovative partnership program, demonstrating Irving Shipbuilding’s commitment to diversify their trades' workforce.

The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence and the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation awarded educational bursaries to each woman for their two-year diploma program. Additionally, Praxair Canada Ltd. and Walter Surface Technologies presented each graduate with the tools and equipment they will need to be successful in their metal trades programs at the ceremony at Akerley Campus in Dartmouth.

"To ensure we are building a team of the best shipbuilders in the world, it is important that we create opportunities for all Canadians to enter shipbuilding trades. The graduates of the first class are already working at our Halifax Shipyard, clearly demonstrating the talent that this partnership has developed. We look forward to having the new class join our team proudly building ships for Canada upon completion of the program," says Kevin McCoy, president, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Women Unlimited CEO Doreen Parsons says, "We are very proud of these strong and determined women. They have demonstrated their commitment to work hard to become the next generation of shipbuilders. We are also very proud of this groundbreaking partnership program. The first group of women who participated are employed at the Halifax Shipyard as welders and ironworkers. This second group are well on their way to joining them. It's changing the lives of women and their families and it's changing the face of shipbuilding in Canada."

Kelly Trout, a participant of the program, notes, "The amount of support we, as women, are receiving is completely unrivalled by any other programs I have come across. We have gained access to transferable skills that we may not have been able to acquire otherwise. Even before we've started our core program at NSCC, we are already so much more employable than we were when we first walked in the door. I am so grateful for the bursaries from the Irving Shipbuilding Centre for Excellence, as well as the Canadian Welding Association Foundation who have been working in close partnership with Women Unlimited to make sure that we have everything we need to succeed once we are enrolled in our programs. I am so grateful to have been a part of this program and so excited to take the next step in my shipbuilding career."

Deborah Mates, Executive Director of the CWA Foundation, adds, "Partnerships like these are so important to the future for these students. Knowing they have support along the way helps to ensure their success. The CWA Foundation is proud to be part of today's celebration."

NSCC President Don Bureaux says the ceremony is not only a graduation from the Women Unlimited program; it marks the first step in their connection with the College. "I can't wait to welcome this second group of students through our doors at Akerley Campus as they work towards their goal of a college diploma in the metal trades and a new beginning for themselves and their families."

At today's celebration, successful graduates of the first Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence – Women Unlimited Partnership Program were in attendance to support the new class of students. These individuals have joined the Halifax Shipyard workforce, building Canada's future naval fleet, and will mentor these new participants as they continue through their studies.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is working with the Royal Canadian Navy on the next class of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) and Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. To build these ships, Irving Shipbuilding has increased its workforce from 800 in 2011 to over 1,600 today. Total employment is forecasted to rise to over 2,500 at peak production of the CSC vessels.

About NSCC Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence

The Centre of Excellence is not a physical structure, but an initiative established by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Nova Scotia Community College to build opportunities for Nova Scotians interested in careers in shipbuilding. The centre's work is focused on increasing workforce diversity by supporting communities that are currently under-represented in Irving Shipbuilding's workforce and the sector itself. Specifically, NSCC and Irving Shipbuilding are growing career opportunities for First Nations, African Canadians, persons with disabilities and women.

About Women Unlimited

Women Unlimited is a not-for-profit provincial organization in Nova Scotia that supports diverse women to build careers in the trades and technology fields. Since 2006, more than 700 diverse women have participated in Women Unlimited programs across the province. Learn more at www.womenunlimitedns.ca.

About Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is the most modern shipbuilder and in-service ship support provider in North America. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our skilled team and innovative facilities provide efficient building, fabrication, conversion and servicing of vessels and offshore platforms. As Canada's chosen shipbuilder, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is working with the Royal Canadian Navy on the next class of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) and Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) vessels under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). We are proud to continue our long history as a trusted partner in Canadian shipbuilding. Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is a member of the J.D. Irving, Limited group of companies, a diverse family owned company with operations in Canada and the United States. Learn more at www.IrvingShipbuilding.com or www.ShipsforCanada.ca.

About Canadian Welding Association Foundation

The Foundation's key mandates are to support public safety awareness, and to address the skilled welding labour shortage in Canada. The CWA Foundation also focuses on creating access to educational opportunities for all levels of education from elementary through to post- secondary, as well as aboriginal peoples, women, those with disabilities and visible minorities.

About NSCC

NSCC is committed to building Nova Scotia's economy and quality of life through education and innovation. Serving the province through a network of 13 campuses, the College offers 120+ programs in five academic schools — Access, Business, IT & Creative Industries, Health & Human Services, and Trades & Technology — reflecting labour market needs and opportunities in Nova Scotia. NSCC's primary goal: student success. In an annual survey of its graduates, the College has found 88% are employed, most in their field of choice, with 90% of those employed living and working in Nova Scotia.

For More Information

Sean Lewis
Director, Communications, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.
902-240-6964 (cell)

Doreen Parsons
CEO, Women Unlimited

Kathleen Cameron
Manager, External Relations


Deborah Mates
Executive Director, CWA Foundation


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