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NSCC welcomes news of apprenticeship agreement


STELLARTON – It’s now easier for students from the Nova Scotia Community College in Pictou County and others across the province to gain experience or obtain work in Alberta.

Alberta and Nova Scotia have signed an agreement in principle to ensure apprenticeship training is transferable between both provinces.

This agreement will improve the recognition of in-province training, allow for the recognition of apprenticeship work experience hours, and enhance labour mobility for apprentices in both provinces.

Marc MacNeil, a third-year pipefitter apprentice from Nova Scotia said the new agreement will help to eliminate barriers and make it easier for apprentices to achieve certification.

"This is great news. I know a lot of people apprenticing who aren't being recognized for their qualifications even though they've completed their program," he said. "It's been tough for them to find an employer to take them on, and some have had to retake courses or work additional hours to get their journeyman status."

Under this arrangement, if an apprentice takes pre-apprenticeship training at the Nova Scotia Community College and then moves to Alberta, their training would be recognized. This will save apprentices from writing additional exams or repeating courses.

The two provinces are also working on an agreement that would make the process of moving between Nova Scotia and Alberta easier and less expensive for apprentices to continue their education.

Rosalind Penfound, vice president, academic, for the NSCC, grew up in Stellarton and has a son who graduated from the community college. She said she is a firm believer in the importance of the college and changes like this.

“We’ve known for a while that the students who come out of the program are really highly qualified,” she said.

It only makes sense to her that their hours are counted.

She said they try to tailor their programs to meet the labour needs of the province, but recognize that from time to time people have to go other places. Trades taught at the NSCC including welding and electrical are in particular demand in Alberta.

With more and more mobility in job markets in Canada, she believes this is a step in the right direction to harmonizing things across the country.

Premier Stephen McNeil said in a release that meeting face-to-face with Alberta Premier Dave Hancock during the premiers meetings in Charlottetown gave them the chance to discuss the real issues facing workers in the two provinces.

"This is a win-win for our two provinces – and more importantly, it's a win for our apprentices," McNeil said. "Today's reality is workers are moving all over the country. Our job is to make sure they have clear pathways to obtaining their certification so they can take full advantage of the good jobs in our region."

Hancock, also responsible for the Department of Innovation and Advanced Education, said they want to make it easier for apprentices and skilled workers in Canada to go where the work is.  

“The goal of this agreement with Nova Scotia is to streamline labour mobility, increase access to apprenticeship training and, ideally, help Alberta attract more workers to meet the demands of our growing economy," said Hancock. "Under the Building Alberta Plan, we are investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them."

Under this arrangement, if an apprentice takes pre-apprenticeship training at the Nova Scotia Community College and then moves to Alberta, their training would be recognized. This will save apprentices from writing additional exams or repeating courses.

The two provinces are also working on an agreement that would make the process of moving between Nova Scotia and Alberta easier and less expensive for apprentices to continue their education.

This co-operation between the two provinces will further support Nova Scotia's efforts to modernize its apprenticeship system.

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