Nova Scotia targeting skilled trades growth
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour Skills Development
The province is updating its apprenticeship and trades qualification system to help homes, hospitals and roads get built faster.
Changes to journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios in Nova Scotia are expected to increase the number workers available to the construction sector in the province. Citing the need to meet the needs of a growing province, Premier Tim Houston introduced the Critical Construction Worker pilot program, which will increase the standard ratio from one journeyperson per two apprentices to one journeyperson per three apprentices in most trades. The province is also excluding final level apprentices from ratios in all trades.
The province says the measures will add up to 5,000 more new apprentices to the system in the next three years, increase the number of journeypersons and trades qualifiers by 1,000 a year, and increase the retention rate of apprentices from 43 per cent to 60 per cent – one of the highest in the country – within five years.
“This is a very big day for the future of the Nova Scotia workforce. Nova Scotia is a growing province, and we need even more skilled trades workers to build our homes, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure projects important to Nova Scotians,” said Houston. “We are willing to make bold decisions and substantial changes to the status quo to become the skilled trades leader in Canada.”
In addition to changing the ratios to increase the number of apprentices training on jobsites, the province is also launching a new targeted immigration stream to help more people enter Nova Scotia’s skilled trades workforce faster.
“We need to be creative and find new ways of attracting and retaining our workforce,” stated Duncan Williams, president and CEO, Construction Association of Nova Scotia. “CANS is pleased to see the province take action to reduce the skilled trades shortage in Nova Scotia.”
The Critical Construction Worker Pilot, is a new stream of Nova Scotia’s Provincial Nominee Program, and includes 21 in-demand occupations in the construction sector.