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?

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 Bridgewater, 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. Certificates in Fall Protection and Confined Space may also be offered. 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 and be introduced to Computer-Aided Design (CAD). You will strengthen your mechanical aptitude and spatial awareness and learn about quality assurance.
  • 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 the CEP?

The CEP is free. However, there could be extra costs that could come up when you attend any full-time program. For example, you may have extra childcare costs. Or, if you don’t already have a bus pass, you might need one. You should talk over any extra costs with a Women Unlimited staff. They may be able to help.

What academic level do I need to have?

You should have a grade 12 or a GED.

When does the program start?

The program starts in the spring of each year, except at the Lunenburg Campus where it begins in the fall/winter.

Is this program only for women who are clients of the Department of Community Services?

No, this program is also open to women who are on EI, women who are employed but not working more than 20 hours a week and women who are unemployed or underemployed.

Will I get paid while I am taking the 14-week program?

No. However, if you are receiving Income Assistance, you may qualify for some increased benefits, and if you are receiving Employment Insurance, you may keep receiving those benefits.

Are there any age requirements?

You must be over 18 years of age.

Can I opt out of some of the activities?

No, you must commit to the full 14-week program before you enter.

Can I work while attending the program?

Yes, if your work hours don’t conflict with program hours, you can continue to work … but not more than 20 hours a week.

Can I bring my children to the program?

No, you have to make childcare arrangements before committing to Women Unlimited.

Do I get a certificate as a tradesperson as soon as I complete the program?

No, you get a certificate of completion for the CEP. However, Women Unlimited is here to help you as you attend the trades or technology program you choose and/or find an apprenticeship position.

Do you pay for my tuition or living expenses?

No, Women Unlimited does not pay for tuition or living expenses. We help you apply for funding you qualify for under the different systems.

Can I enter any program at NSCC once I complete the program?

Women Unlimited is a trades and technology career exploration program, and NSCC has many programs that are not trades or technology based. Women Unlimited can secure you a seat in a trades or technology program if you have the prerequisite skills for the program. Women Unlimited cannot secure you a seat in a non-trades or technology program. However, you can apply for one of those yourself.

Do I have to take my training at NSCC?

No, there are private trainers with trades and technology programs.

What happens if I have a debt with NSCC?

You will need to speak to Women Unlimited staff about any outstanding debts you have with NSCC.

Do you help me get a job after completion of my trades of technology training?

Yes, Women Unlimited will support you while you are looking for work. We keep in contact with many employers in the area.

What are trades and technology?

There is a wide variety of trades and technology training programs. If you want to learn more about them, go to:


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