Career Exploration Program (CEP)

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Career Exploration Program (CEP)


The Career Exploration Program is a free, 14-week program that allows women to explore their interests in the trades or technologies.


Who should apply?

If you are interested in applying for our next programs, contact the coordinator at the site you are most interested in attending.

You should apply if you are a woman who is interested in exploring the fields of trades and technologies and you are:

  • unemployed, underemployed or working less than 20 hours a week
  • not in school, community college or in a full-time adult-learning program
  • over eighteen years of age
  • entitled to work in Canada
  • someone who is interested in exploring careers in these fields
  • someone who has a grade 12 diploma or GED
  • available to attend 14-weeks of full-time programming

Why Women?

  • Women represent the largest untapped source of skilled trades workers in Nova Scotia.
  • Increased workplace diversity can lead to increased employee satisfaction, loyalty, retention and savings in recruitment and training
  • Employing diverse women will assist employers meet diversity goals and employment equity guidelines.
  • Women bring fresh perspectives, new ideas and often increased collaboration to the workplace.
  • Women also bring an increase in workplace safety.
  • Increased workplace diversity may give employers an edge in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Where are they located?


Women Unlimited offers programs in Halifax, Dartmouth and Sydney. See the Contact Us section of this website for the locations.

What happens during the CEP?

  • Safety Certification
    You earn certificates in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Standard First Aid and CPR. You will also be introduced to basic tools and equipment.
  • Career Exploration
    You get hands-on exposure to trades and technology programs offered at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) campuses. You can try out a range of programs such as: power engineering, electrical, pipe trades, automotive collision and repair, heavy duty equipment, metal fabrication, welding, mechanical engineering technology, gas technician, industrial rigging, natural resources and environmental technology, computer electronics and so many more. As well, you go on site visits to local employers to see how different operations work and what the working conditions are. And, guest speakers come into the Women Unlimited classroom to give inside accounts of their worksites. Employers, union representatives and apprenticeship training officers are also invited in to speak to the class. Women working in trades and technology occupations share their experiences … many are Women Unlimited grads! You learn about the labour market and how to plan your career path in trades and technology.
  • Essential Skills
    Math is an essential skill for trade or technology programs. Women Unlimited runs a non-threatening, math-refresher program where you can face and overcome any "math" fears before college entry. You will also improve your communication and computer skills.
  • Personal Development
    You'll also attend sessions to help build your self-esteem, learn about assertiveness, goal setting, time management, restorative communications and problem solving. You'll work on your portfolio and build it over the 14-weeks. As you bring all you've done together, you'll find you have accomplished many things in your life. You'll find you have many transferable skills. When you move on, your portfolio will move with you, ready for your next accomplishment and your next success. You will work on your presentation skills and improve your fitness, health and wellness.
  • Training and Workplace Readiness
    Diverse women are underrepresented in trades and technology. You will explore opportunities and challenges diverse women face, the importance of diversity in training programs and workplaces as well as strategies to support your success. You will prepare your application to NSCC or another training institution and Women Unlimited will assist you to address issues associated with tuition, childcare, transportation, tools, books, etc. You will also build a range of job search strategies and learn from the experiences of other women through the Women Unlimited Mentoring Network.

What happens after the CEP?

  • Support During Trades or Technology Programming
    Women Unlimited's door is always open. Women Unlimited will support you during your trades and technology program as you face new challenges and gain new skills.
  • Employment Access and Retention
    Women Unlimited helps you transition into employment, whether that means assisting you to identify work experience opportunities during your NSCC program or identifying employment opportunities in your trade or technology. Women Unlimited is also there for you after you get hired to support your success in these fields. As well, Women Unlimited works to engage employers by promoting the benefits of hiring diverse women. By hiring diverse women employers can address skilled labour shortages, increasing their talent base, increasing productivity and improve their bottom-line.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there a cost to attend Women Unlimited (WU)?
No, you can attend the 14-week WU Career Exploration Program (CEP) free of charge. If you choose to attend a Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) college level program in Trades & Technology after you successfully complete the CEP, there will be costs involved such as tuition, student fees, books etc. You should speak directly to the WU Coordinator in your area about the costs and how you might pay for them.
What academic level do I need to have?
You need to have a grade 12 or a GED in order to attend the CEP. This is because we are looking for women who want to build careers in the Trades & Technology, and a grade 12 is an NSCC requirement for those programs.
When does the program start?
In general, new CEPs start in March of each year. However, start times may be subject to change, so it is best to contact the WU Coordinator in your area and attend an information session.
Is this program only for women who are referred by the Department of Community Services?
No, this program is open to women who are unemployed, underemployed, on EI or receiving Income Assistance.
Will I get paid while I am taking the 14-week CEP?
No, there is no payment for attending the CEP.
Are there any age requirements?
Yes, you must be over 18 years of age.
Can I opt out of some of the activities?
No, the WU CEP is a full-time, 14-week program, and you must commit to being present for all of it.
Can I work while attending the program?
Yes, you can continue to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week while attending the program but not during program hours which are Monday to Friday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
Can I bring my children to the program?
No, but you can speak to the WU Coordinator in your area, who may be able to help you to find supportive childcare.
Do I get a certificate as a tradesperson as soon as I complete WU?
No, WU is an intervention designed to help you explore careers in the Trades & Technology fields. If you successfully complete the CEP you would receive a certificate of completion.
Can I enter any program at NSCC once I complete the program?
If you successfully complete the WU CEP, you can apply to enter any Trades & Technology program at NSCC if you have the required prerequisites.
Do I have to take my training at NSCC?
No, there are private schools that have Trades & Technology programs.
Does WU help me get a job after completion of a Trade or Technology training program?
WU staff members are there to support you once you graduate from your college level program. They help with application forms, resumes and cover letters. They have contacts with employers who are hiring.

Referral and Application Forms

Application Form
Referral Form


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