Skills Development

Skills Development is an employment program that provides financial assistance to Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) eligible individuals to help them obtain the skills training they need to obtain employment.

Program Information

Program Objective

The Skills Development (SD) program provides unemployed, LMDA eligible participants who need to learn additional basic to advanced skills development training to help find work. SD participants should be those who lack marketable skills and need new or additional occupational skills in order to improve their employment prospects but are otherwise job ready.  Participants requesting support through this program attend training on a full time basis and training may be approved through public or private training providers.

Who delivers Skills Development?

Employment Nova Scotia delivers Skills Development and other Employment Benefits and Support Measures in Nova Scotia.


Eligibility Information

Client Eligibility:

  • Unemployed
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident legally entitled to work in Canada
  • Resident of Nova Scotia at the time the completed SD application is received by Employment Nova Scotia (ENS)
  • Currently in receipt of Regular EI Benefits

  • or

    Had an EI claim that ended in the previous 60 months

    Has been employed with gross insurable earnings of $2000 or higher annually, in at least 5 of the last 10 years."
  • Minimum 3 years of Labour Force Attachment
  • Otherwise job-ready but lacks marketable skills and needs new or additional occupational skills in order to improve their employment prospects

Training Eligibility:

  • Full time
  • Industry recognized
  • Lead to certificate, diploma or degree
  • Training institutions must be registered, not required to be registered or exempt, in keeping with Private Career Colleges regulations and standards


  • Minimum 5 days
  • Maximum of 3 years per intervention

What else do I need to know?

Read Skills Development Program Guidelines (PDF).

Applications for funding must be received at least two (2) calendar weeks before the regular scheduled course start date. The start date is what has been identified by the training institution on the acceptance letter or website. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.

Note: If the deadline date is a holiday, then the application should be received in our office the business day prior.

  • The date your completed application is received by Employment Nova Scotia is the date when you are considered to have requested assistance. This date is used to determine whether you qualify as a LMDA eligible participant within the time frames noted above.
  • If you are currently receiving Employment Insurance, you may continue to receive your regular Employment Insurance benefits until the end of your benefit period, after which you may be eligible to receive a living allowance to the end of your Skills Development agreement.
  • If you are not in receipt of Employment Insurance benefits, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance for living expenses.
  • Temporary financial assistance may be provided in exceptional circumstances to cover all or part of the following costs related to participation (dependent care, tuition, books, disability needs, transportation and accommodation).
  • Individuals who participate in Skills Development are normally required to make a financial contribution towards the cost of their training.
  • Your application must be approved by Employment Nova Scotia before you begin your training.
  • Employment Nova Scotia's agreement with an individual can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to three years depending on Employment Nova Scotia's local business plan and the participant's Return to Work Action Plan.


Application Information

How do I apply?


As part of the application process, it is necessary for you to receive an employment assessment and develop a Return to Work Action Plan with a case manager. The case manager's decision is required before Employment Nova Scotia can assess your application. Please refer to the list of Employment Service Centres to find an organization that provides Case Management in your area.

The Employment Assistance Service provider can guide you through your application for financial assistance under the Skills Development Employment Benefit.




Contact Information