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New apprenticeship agency in Nova Scotia; board members named

June 24, 2014 | By Anthony Capkun

June 24, 2014 – An industry-led board and acting CEO have been named to lead the new agency that will work to improve Nova Scotia’s apprenticeship system. Beginning July 1, 2014, the apprenticeship training division of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education will become a separate agency focused on getting more employers involved, and helping more apprentices complete their training.

During a meeting of the HR Committee today, seven appointments were put forward for the inaugural board, which will advise on matters related to the apprenticeship system, and oversee the delivery of “the new streamlined, Atlantic Canadian approach to apprenticeship”.

They will recruit and oversee the work of trade advisory committees, and recommend the remaining board members to the minister by the fall. Those members are:

• Carol MacCulloch, chair and service sector employee rep. Past-president of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (20 years).


• Bradley Alan Smith, construction sector employee rep. Executive director of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades.

• Brian McCarthy, industrial sector employer rep. Vice-president of HR for Irving Shipbuilding.

• Doreen Parsons, member-at-large. Manager of Women Unlimited Association.

• Gordon MacLean, member-at-large. Past senior labour relations consultant for the province, and past director of HR for Cape Breton University.

• Heather Cruickshanks, construction sector employer rep. Owner of Cruickshanks Sheet Metal.

• Rosalind Penfound, member-at-large. Vice-president, Academic for the Nova Scotia Community College, past deputy minister of Education and commissioner of the Public Service Commission.

The acting CEO—Marjorie Davison—will be in place for July 1. She will work with industry to achieve the goals of the agency, including creating more opportunities for apprentices and giving better access to training so they have the certification and skills they need.

“We’ve been hearing from industry that changes are needed,” said Davison. “I’m looking forward to working side-by-side with them to direct the changes needed to better serve their needs and those of their current and future apprentices.”

Recruitment for a permanent CEO is underway, with the intention of having a successful candidate in place later this summer.

Industry recommended the transition of apprenticeship to an agency, says the provincial government. The new model will give industry more authority in decision-making, increasing employer involvement in the system, added the province.

“We all share the same goal of building our workforce. And building a workforce is as simple as making sure our people are getting the right skills for the right jobs,” said Rhonda Marks, co-owner of Techtronics Machine Works, Musquodoboit Harbour. “This new structure will ensure employers, training partners, apprentices and government are all working together for success.”

In the coming months, the agency will develop a plan to attract more members of under-represented groups into apprenticeship, and continue to improve online resources for employers and apprentices.

It will also develop an industry-led strategy that will define employer roles and responsibilities, and identify ways of engaging employers and industry associations to create new apprenticeship opportunities.

“Without employers, apprenticeship simply doesn’t work,” said Kelly Regan, minister of labour and advanced education. “When employers are more invested in the system, they’ll take on more apprentices. That means more opportunities for apprentices to train and complete their training here, training they can use to help the province grow.”

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