News release

More Training, Support for Skilled Trades Professionals

Labour, Skills and Immigration
skilled trades
a welder at work

A welder at work; the Province is making it easier for people to become certified in the skilled trades sector, with two new initiatives. (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

The Province is making it easier for people to become certified in the skilled trades sector with two new initiatives as part of the plan to grow Nova Scotia’s skilled trades workforce.

Funding more training seats in high-demand trades has resulted in almost 200 apprentices being moved off wait lists and into technical training to continue their journey to certification. This is the first step in eliminating wait lists in high-demand programs.

The other initiative is waiving certification exam fees for trades professionals who are experienced but are not registered apprentices. This puts about $740 back in the pockets of those looking to become a certified trades professional through the trade qualifier route.

“There are tremendous opportunities in the skilled trades right now, and we want to remove barriers and make it easier for apprentices to get certified in their trade faster,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “We’re pleased to work with our partners to help more Nova Scotians achieve their goal of becoming certified in the skilled trades and address our labour needs, one solution at a time.”

Nova Scotia Community College is providing the additional training in the following high-demand trades:

  • plumber
  • carpenter
  • powerline technician
  • industrial mechanic
  • welder
  • metal fabricator
  • automotive service technician.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 625 is providing the training for the electrician trade.

The added training and waiving exam fees are part of the $100-million plan announced in October to recruit, retain and train more people in the skilled trades. The government is accelerating growth in the skilled trades and modernizing the apprenticeship and trades qualification system to meet the needs of a growing province. The goal is to add up to 5,000 more apprentices to the system over the next three years, increase the number of journeypersons and trade qualifiers taking on apprentices by 1,000 a year, and increase the retention rate of apprentices to 60 per cent (from 43 per cent) within the next five years.


“Getting more apprentices into technical training in high-demand skilled trades is a significant expansion of the apprenticeship training. We’re ensuring more professionals can access the necessary skills training across the province, contributing to the growth and sustainability of the skilled trades. In addition, waiving the fees for experienced trades professionals to challenge the certification exam will encourage more people to become certified in their profession, which will help meet the needs of our growing province.”
Michelle Bussey, CEO, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

“NSCC has been pleased to support the positive work stemming from the government’s multi-million dollar investment aimed at addressing educational needs within the high-demand trades sector. Our employees have worked in partnership with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency to provide training needed in several key trades sectors, helping apprentices move forward faster on their journey to enhance their skills.”
Jill Provoe, Vice-President, Academic and Equity, Nova Scotia Community College

Quick Facts:

  • all fees for trades professionals to challenge certification examinations in the construction trades will be waived until October 2026, saving them collectively about $100,000 per year
  • a trade qualifier is an individual who has worked in a voluntary skilled trade (one that does not require certification for employment) and has significant experience but is not a registered apprentice or certified in the trade
  • expanding technical training by an additional 200 seats is costing about $350,000 this year; a total of $6 million per year, starting the next academic year, will be spent on increasing the number of training offerings
  • currently, there are more than 3,700 training seats across the province; more than 400 people are on the wait list
  • this work builds on previous initiatives to recruit, train, and retain more skilled trades professionals, including the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades tax refund program, marketing efforts and targeted immigration streams

Additional Resources:

News release – Actions to Accelerate Skilled Trades Growth:

Construction trades included in fee waiver:

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way