We’re tearing down walls to make skilled trades education a priority in Nova Scotia schools!

Whatever your trade is, it is likely to face serious worker shortages over the next 10 years. With an eye towards the ship-building contract, and as large numbers of tradespeople retire, more than 5,000 skilled workers will be required in Nova Scotia’s construction sector alone.  The Conference Board of Canada has predicted a country-wide shortage of up to one million skilled workers by 2020.

At the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, we are combating the skills shortage head on.  We’re literally tearing down walls to give the skilled trades a prominent place in the high school curriculum. Schools across the province have been renovated to create the Skilled Trades Centre, a learning area which functions as a construction site, workshop, and classroom.

Skilled Trades 10 - A real world curriculum

Skilled Trades 10 is the starting point for students who want to explore the skilled trades as a career option.  It features a curriculum that immerses students in the realities of skilled trades work.  Designed in consultation with certified, Red Seal-endorsed trades educators, Skilled Trades 10 provides a mixture of classroom and practical workplace activities.  Students spend approximately 80% of their time completing real trades tasks and projects, using the basic hand tools of industry professionals.

Skilled Trades 10 is the first in a suite of courses that fully integrates a range of skilled trades into Nova Scotia’s high schools.


Construction Trades 11 - Building a connection

Construction Trades 11 comprises the building of a complete, full-scale four unit building. Each unit contains a room plus a full bathroom. The class is divided into four groups of four and each group is responsible for its unit.  Students frame, rough-in, and finish the work of six different trades.


Transportation Trades 11 - A road to the trades

Transportation Trades 11 is designed so that students begin to understand service work in an automotive setting. Students disassemble and re-assemble an engine paying attention to components and making calculations that unfold the internal combustion system. Student also perform maintenance, diagnostic and other tasks on a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.


Skilled Trades 12 - Co-op  A real world connection

Skilled Trades 12 Co-op is literally where the rubber meets the road.  Students work directly with a certified journeyperson performing the actual tasks of the trade in a community-based setting.


And there's more to come!

Manufacturing Trades 11 is currently under construction with an antipated pilot date of September, 2013.  Culinary Arts 11 is also being considered.

Promoting apprenticeship training as another credible pathway to rewarding careers

We’re also tearing down curriculum barriers that have typically prevented students from exploring the skilled trades. Skilled Trades is now an Area of Study in the Nova Scotia Public School Program.  Students can now earn full academic credit for all the courses offered as part of our new Skilled Trades initiative.   Our best and brightest students can now consider apprenticeship training, either through direct entry into the work-force or by attending courses at post secondary schools, as another credible pathway to a rewarding career.

Students who successfully complete Skilled Trades courses under the direction of a certified journeyperson teacher can earn up to 500 hours upon registration as an apprentice or youth apprentice.

Certified journeyperson instructors

Skilled Trades courses are taught by certified journeyperson teachers with extensive industry experience. Most Skilled Trades teachers also have a Red Seal endorsement in their trade. This demanding requirement signals our commitment to ensuring that the quality of instruction in our high schools reflects current industry standards.

Get involved!

We hope you will join us in tearing down the walls that have kept students from considering the skilled trades as an exciting and rewarding career opportunity.

Currently, Skilled Trades are offered at the following schools.

  • Annapolis West Education Centre
  • Breton Ed Centre
  • Eastern Shore District High School
  • École Beau-Port à Arichat
  • Hants East Rural High School
  • JL lIsley High School
  • Park View Education Centre
  • Sackville High School  
  • Shelburne Regional High School


Here’s how you can help:

  • Volunteer to speak to the students at a Skilled Trades Centre in your community
  • Work with us to organize a class tour of a local building site, dealership, or factory
  • Share your ideas for strengthening the Skilled Trades initiative’s ties with industry
  • Provide opportunities for Skilled Trades 12 Co-op placements

Call today to tell us how you can contribute.

Contact John Drish, Coordinator of Trades Integration