News release

First All-Indigenous Class Graduates from Atlantic Trades Business Seal Program

Nova Scotia’s first all-Indigenous and all-journeypersons class has graduated from the Atlantic Trades Business Seal program.

This continuing education program is giving its seven graduates the skills, confidence and tools they need to take on managerial roles and start their own company.

“These professionals are contributing to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. I am proud to recognize each of the graduates and thank them for paving the way for others who may want to pursue careers in the trades and business leadership,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “The talent in this group is impressive and each person will strengthen the business community for years to come.”

The members of this year’s graduating class represent three of the five First Nations in Unama’ki/Cape Breton. Graduates include three business owners, the director of housing for Potlotek First Nation, and a cook, carpenter and a truck and transport mechanic. All have earned a certificate of qualification bearing the red seal.


Take the Atlantic Trades Business Seal program. It will help you understand the business side if you want to start a new business or to further your career. It sure helped me. I feel proud and honoured to finish the program and I feel like I accomplished something great in my career. Karen Kabatay-MacLean, graduate of the program

The program provided an excellent opportunity for journeypersons to expand their business skills. Course delivery focused on project-based assignments to develop these skills and apply them to their business or workplace. The participants worked on these projects, individually and in groups, during evenings and on weekends. Group members excelled at completing these requirements in a fast-paced learning environment, requiring collaboration and sharing of learned experiences. Mike Kelly, program instructor

Quick Facts:

  • the Atlantic Trades Business Seal program helps skilled trades workers who have a certificate of qualification prepare for managerial roles, starting their own business or enhancing their skills to bring their business to the next level
  • this group graduated from the Atlantic Trades Business Seal program on Sept. 28
  • as of March 31, there were 342 self-identified Aboriginal apprentices registered. This is an increase of almost nine per cent from the previous year and a 53 per cent increase in five years
  • the availability of training leading to trade certification for more Indigenous Peoples was identified as a priority in the Unama’ki Apprenticeship Strategy

Additional Resources:

The Atlantic Trades Business Seal Program:

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency:

From volunteer cook to certified Red Seal cook, Karen Kabatay-Maclean is a shining example of how rewarding a career in the skilled trades can be


Media Contact:

Shannon Kerr
Cell: 902-717-6061 Email: