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Father & son embrace a similar path decades apart

Photo of Justin Bishop outside of NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences in 2022 next to a photo of Ivan Bishop outside of the former Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute in the early 1980s.
In 2022 Justin Bishop enrolled at COGS where his late father, Ivan, studied in the '80s.

When Justin Bishop (IT Programming ‘24) moved out West eight years ago, he didn’t imagine coming home to Nova Scotia, let alone going to the school his father attended almost 40 years before.

Both Justin and his late father, Ivan Bishop (Land Surveying ’84), enrolled at NSCC’s Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) as mature students with the aim to change careers.

“I'm excited to start this new chapter in my life and dad did the same thing. Even though you try to do your own thing, it's kind of funny how everything works out,” says Justin. “My dad went to school to get out of labour and into more of a technical position.”

Justin’s father Ivan worked various labour jobs before taking the leap to enrol at the former Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute. While in school, he secured a government job with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture in Kentville. After a few years, he moved to Halifax where he enjoyed a 25-year career with Wallace MacDonald & Lively (now WSP Canada Inc.) and moved up within the organization.

Programming a new career

As a teen, Justin considered the two-plus-two program through NSCC but decided to attend university to study business. Following graduation, he left the province to work in the oil fields to pay off his student debt.

During that time Justin also started making photo and video content for small businesses which provided the opportunity to travel to over 10 countries across the world.

“My father taught me that the world is full of adventure, and you just have to get out there and get after it. I grew up with confidence to move west for oil and move back home to restart life from nothing,” says Justin.

When Justin moved back to Nova Scotia in 2022, he continued to create digital content on a causal basis but knew he had to re-evaluate his career path. He decided to enrol in IT Programming at NSCC after seeing the success friends had in the field.

“I had a bad taste in my mouth for post-secondary because of the amount of money you pay for what you get,” says Justin. “NSCC is affordable and it gives you specific skills, so at the end you know what you're doing.”

Justin’s goal is to broaden his experience by working with a larger organization right after graduation, then go smaller and eventually have his own business on the side.