News Release Archive

Companies are increasingly realizing that enhanced technological
capabilities are vital when competing in today's marketplace. To
help businesses do this, the Technology Training Council, a
not-for-profit association committed to improving the technology
skills of Nova Scotia companies, was established.

The council assists businesses by sharing direct and related
costs of specific training programs, and helps organize and
promote programs it supports. This year has brought a significant
increase in requests for assistance from across the province.

"In the first five months of 1997, we have doubled our 1996
figures, helping almost 100 companies and over 200 participants,"
said executive director David Sable.

To track its success, the council surveyed its clients. Results
indicate 80 per cent will increase training investment, 54 per
cent believe their training will lead to new market development,
and 33 per cent believe it will result in increased employment.

The council is currently developing a unique program in advanced
technology apprenticeship training. "Some companies have very
specific requirements related to their particular product or
service and there's no available training," said Mr. Sable. "In
such cases, an apprenticeship program, with formal classroom
training and an on-the-job component with a mentor, is helpful."

Halifax-based Brooklyn North Software Works Inc., creator of the
webpage design program HTML Assistant Pro, fits a specific-needs
category: mass market software development. Company president
Howard Harawitz said the software they develop is unique.

"The issues involved in developing specialized software are
incredibly different from those involved in developing software
that's going to be mass-marketed," said Mr. Harawitz.

He pointed out there is no one locally in the industry able to
meet such specific training needs. To fill this gap, he will help
develop an 18-month software development apprenticeship program.

"As an employer, I'd be interested in hiring programmers who have
been through apprenticeship training because that's how you learn
to write software -- by working with the people who are doing
it," he said.

Mr. Harawitz said he believes a board must supervise the
apprenticeship program, decide what the training will involve,
and regularly evaluate the process.

Mr. Sable said the council is set up to do just that. "Non-board
members, who are technical experts, will monitor the new
apprenticeships to ensure that they are achieving the

It's hoped that the successful program pilots will ultimately be
picked up by the Department of Education and Culture's
apprenticeship division.

The outlook for apprenticeship training is positive. "There's an
enormous amount of activity taking place which provides great
potential for further growth," said Mr. Sable. "I also believe
there's room for two or three programs in the software industry,
at least one in biotechnology, another two or three in the
multimedia field, and perhaps one in the plastics industry."

The council's other ongoing training projects are varied and
include a workshop on plastics technology, with state-of-the-art
information on what's happening in the plastics industry, and
multimedia training in 3-D and animation techniques, Java
programming and Internet protocol. It also supports DalTech's
environmental science certificate program.

The council's plans include expanding its training role to
encompass business education and distance-learning support.

With funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and
InNOVAcorp, through the Canada-Nova Scotia COOPERATION Program,
the council is now halfway through a three-year mandate. 


Contact: Valerie Bellefontaine
         902-424-8670, ext. 158

         David Kaulback
         Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

trp                     July 23, 1997 - 2:45 p.m.