News release

Province Supports New Training Program for Boatbuilders

A partnership between the Province, the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will provide skills training and employment opportunities while addressing a labour shortage in the boatbuilding industry.

“We have a long, storied history of boatbuilding in Nova Scotia and a deep connection to the water,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “The industry employs more than 1,000 people, particularly in rural areas. Investments in skills development give life to the industry and help prepare and attract the next generation of Nova Scotia boatbuilders.”

The Province is investing $238,000 in an eight-week training program in composites fabrication through the One Journey Initiative. It is a partnership between the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration, industry and community that provides skill development and employment opportunities to unemployed or underemployed Nova Scotians where there is an identified industry labour shortage.

The training will be offered by NSCC and include hands-on learning for participants. Three South Shore companies are hosting the hands-on component this fall: RPS Composites in Mahone Bay, Stelia North America in Lunenburg and Dagley’s Boatworks in East Lahave. Hands-on training during the winter 2022 course will take place at A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. in Meteghan River.

More than a dozen companies in the boatbuilding industry require people skilled in composites fabrication and are willing to hire participants who complete the program.


We’re really excited this composites training is happening. Not only does it give participants important foundational skills for our industry, it removes risk for both job seekers and employers by ensuring people have a good understanding of the work they’d be doing. We’re very appreciative of the support from the department of Labour, Skills and Immigration to make this possible. Jan Fullerton, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association

There’s a sense of accomplishment, building something from scratch. We didn’t have skills in the beginning to build this stuff, but now, looking at it, we’ve come a long way. It’s really fulfilling. I’d like to continue building. Zubain Rafiq, course participant

I didn’t know anything but now we did this, so you actually feel like you accomplished something. Colby Redmond, course participant

Quick Facts:

  • 10 seats were allocated to both the fall 2021 and winter 2022 courses; the boatbuilders association is looking to add additional seats to the winter course for a total of 20 participants
  • applications can be made directly to the association or through a Nova Scotia Works office
  • after finishing the program, participants will receive a certificate from NSCC and be eligible to work in aerospace, boatbuilding or general composites fabrication; they can also begin their apprenticeship in the boatbuilder trade as designated under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act
  • the boatbuilding and repair industry includes approximately 60 companies in Nova Scotia and employs over 1,000 people
  • Labour, Skills and Immigration invests approximately $2.5 million annually in the One Journey Initiative, which supports up to 65 employers and helps 170 Nova Scotians with new skills and employment opportunities

Additional Resources:

One Journey Initiative:

Nova Scotia Works:


Media Contacts:

Khalehla Perrault
Labour, Skills and Immigration Cell: 902-717-3193 Email:
Andrew Bethune
Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association Cell: 902-233-3326 Email: