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Irving Shipbuilding, NSCC and Women Unlimited launch second women in shipbuilding program

  • Wed, November 02, 2016


HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA (November 2, 2016) — Irving Shipbuilding, Women Unlimited and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) are working to address the gender gap in shipbuilding through a unique program for under and unemployed women hosted at NSCC’s Akerley Campus.

Twenty women will be accepted into the second phase of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence-Women Unlimited Partnership Program. Upon successful completion of a 14-week career exploration program, the female students will enroll in the College’s welding or metal fabrication diploma programs.

The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence and the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation will provide successful applicants with educational bursaries for each of the two years of the program. Successful graduates who meet employment eligibility criteria will be hired by Irving Shipbuilding as positions become available.

“Irving Shipbuilding is committed to modernizing the face of shipbuilding in Canada and attracting talent from all segments of the Canadian workforce” said Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding. “This Program is an opportunity for 20 talented women to learn a skilled trade and become part of the next generation of shipbuilders building Canada’s future naval fleet.”

“The CWA Foundation is honoured to be a part of this initiative to support women pursuing a career in the welding industry” said Deborah Mates, CWA Foundation Executive Director. “Partnering with the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence is a great example of industry working together to address the welding skills trade shortage in Canada.”

“We’re very excited to be starting the next round of the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence-Women Unlimited Partnership Program,” said Doreen Parsons, CEO of Women Unlimited. “We have a ten-year history of supporting women to both study and work in the trades and technologies and of supporting industry to address the barriers that limit the participation of diverse women in these fields.”

Fewer than five per cent of skilled tradespeople in Canada are women. Women Unlimited is working, not only to increase the number of women working at Irving Shipbuilding, but to enhance opportunities for women in all trades-related industries.

“This program changed my life,” said Antonia Wareham, a welding student and a participant in the 2015 cohort of the program. “The support has been fantastic. They made it so stress-free that I could just buckle down and focus on school.”

Prior to starting the NSCC trades program, the successful applicants will complete a 14-week Career Exploration Program with Women Unlimited. This Women Unlimited program will begin in March 2017 at NSCC Akerley Campus with the Metal Fabrication and Welding Diploma programs beginning September 2017.

Women interested in applying for this exciting program can contact Women Unlimited at 902.491.2008 or through The deadline for applications is February 17, 2017.
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 or

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 650 diverse women have participated in Women Unlimited programs across the province. Learn more at

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 NSCC 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 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.


Sean Lewis
Director, Communications, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.
Work: (902) 484-4595
Cell: (902) 240-6964

Doreen Parsons
CEO, Women Unlimited
Cell: (902) 452-1061

Kathleen Cameron
Manager, External Relations, NSCC
Cell: 902-499-7844

Deborah Mates
Executive Director, CWA Foundation
Cell: 905-699-5230

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