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The province is making it easier for people to become certified in the skilled trades sector with two new initiatives to grow Nova Scotia’s skilled trades workforce.The Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration on Wednesday, Feb 14 announced it is adding 200 seats in its continued effort to move apprentices off wait lists and into technical training to continue their journey to certification. According to a department news release, this is the first step in eliminating wait lists for high-demand programs.

The department is also waiving certification exam fees for trades professionals who are experienced but are not registered apprentices. This initiative will save qualifying professionals about $740, according to the department.

The added training and waiving exam fees are part of the $100-million plan announced in October to recruit, retain and train more people in the skilled trades.


The government is accelerating growth in the skilled trades and modernizing the apprenticeship and trades qualification system to meet the needs of a growing province.


The goal is to add up to 5,000 more apprentices to the system over the next three years, increase the number of journeypersons and trade qualifiers taking on apprentices by 1,000 a year, and increase the retention rate of apprentices to 60 per cent (from 43 per cent) within the next five years.

Currently, there are more than 3,700 training seats across the province; more than 400 people are on the wait list. Nova Scotia Community College is providing the additional training in the qualifying trades and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 625 is providing the training for the electrician trade.


The qualifying high-demand trades are plumbing, carpentry, powerline technician, industrial mechanic, welding, metal fabrication, and automotive service technician.

According to NSCC’s website, the new Sydney Waterfront Campus beginning in September 2024 will offer training in plumbing, carpentry, welding, metal fabrication, and automotive service technician.

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