Irving looking to build homegrown workforce

Staff ~ The Burnside News
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Spotlight on Shipbuilding

Since it was announced that the Halifax Shipyard was the winning bidder for $25 billion worth of combat vessels under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, applications...

Since it was announced that the Halifax Shipyard was the winning bidder for $25 billion worth of combat vessels under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, applications for work have been pouring in.

The company received almost 2,000 applications within the first few days of the announcement. These were split, with about 60 per cent coming in for staff/management positions and 40 per cent for trades.

And the interest isn't just from Nova Scotians. About a third of the calls are from outside Nova Scotia.

The immediate need at the yard is for electricians and ironworkers to complete work on the mid-shore patrol vessels for the Coast Guard and mid-life refits of Navy frigates that are currently underway.

Those 2,000 hopefuls are looking to join a current workforce of more than 1,200 shipbuilders. They also join the almost 12,000 resumes Irving already has on file. In the current workforce, more than 250 apprentices are already involved and Irving is working closely with Nova Scotia Community College to train and educate more skilled workers for the future.

Irving has publically stated it's committed to building the workforce across the entire industry. With work on the first vessels under the contract not expected to begin for 18 months - and several more years before the company is expected to hit the forecast peak of employment - there should be plenty of time to get everything in place.

But additional training isn't only needed in the trades, but also for management. Irving currently has more than 270 staff and management, but is already estimating it will need to increase that number to about 1,000 at peak.

These positions would include engineers, planners, accountants and supervisors, as well as many others. Work is underway with a variety of post-secondary institutions to address these needs as well.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College, Coast Guard

Geographic location: Nova Scotians, Nova Scotia.The

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