News release

New Bursary for Skilled Trades Students at NSCC

Labour, Skills and Immigration
skilled trades
Photo of carpentry student and instructor

An instructor helps a student learning carpentry skills. (Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency)

As part of the Province’s plan to grow the skilled trades workforce, a new bursary will support 320 students starting training in Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) construction programs in September.

Students with financial need can apply for the $5,000 Growing Nova Scotia’s Skilled Trades Workforce Bursary to help pay for tuition and living costs while training in high-demand construction trades programs at NSCC campuses across Nova Scotia.

“It’s about removing barriers. The skilled trades are for everyone, and we know we need more skilled trades professionals to build our houses, hospitals and schools. We’ve been listening to Nova Scotians and know that some need extra financial assistance to attend NSCC and this new bursary will encourage more students to complete their studies in the trades and help them to launch their careers,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “It will also create a great opportunity for equity-deserving groups who traditionally face barriers to employment.”

To be eligible, students must:

  • be enrolled full-time in the first year of one of the 19 construction programs at NSCC
  • demonstrate financial need.

While preference will be given to equity-deserving students, any student with financial need can apply. Students who receive the bursary this year will be able to apply for renewal in their second year.

Applications are open until July 18. NSCC students can apply through the college awards portal.

The $3.2-million investment for the new bursary is part of the $100 million announced in October to recruit, retain and train more people in 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 new apprentices to the system in the next three years, increase the number of journeypersons and trades qualifiers taking on apprentices by 1,000 a year, and increase the retention to certification rate of apprentices from 43 per cent to 60 per cent – one of the highest in the country – within five years.


“This investment supports NSCC students entering the construction trades that are in the highest demand in Nova Scotia. By offering financial support to pre-apprenticeship students, with a preference to equity-deserving students, we are not only building a skilled workforce to strengthen our province’s growth, but also working collectively to create a more vibrant and representative community within the trades.”
Michelle Bussey, CEO, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

“Removing barriers for individuals to pursue careers in the skilled trades is vital for the future of our sector, our communities and our province. Every incentive helps to achieve that future where trades professionals are trained and ready to build and maintain the infrastructure needed tomorrow.”
Trent Soholt, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council

“This new bursary will be such a positive boost for people seeking a career in this sector while helping to meet the growing need for skilled trades professionals within this critical industry.”
Jill Provoe, Vice-President, Academic and Equity, Nova Scotia Community College

“As a strong advocate for educational equity and a supporter of Indigenous communities, I enthusiastically endorse the Nova Scotia Community College bursary with a preference for equity-deserving students in the skilled trades. Our long-standing commitment to empowering Indigenous individuals has shown the transformative impact of such initiatives. This $5,000 bursary not only eases financial burdens but also contributes to advancing education and skill development, creating a more inclusive and diverse future for all.”
Tracey Johnson, Trades Co-ordinator, Aboriginal Peoples Training and Employment Commission

Quick Facts:

  • students have to apply for the bursary during the first year of their studies in one of the relevant programs at any NSCC location
  • equity-deserving groups given preference for this bursary include African Nova Scotians, people of African descent, Mi’kmaw/Indigenous people, people with disabilities, racially visible people, people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, women and newcomers
  • as of March 2021, 15.8 per cent of apprentices in Nova Scotia were from equity-deserving groups, up from 6.9 per cent in 2016-17
  • the number of female apprentices has doubled in the last 10 years and represents 7.8 per cent of all registered apprentices

Additional Resources:

Growing Nova Scotia’s Skilled Trades Workforce Bursary information and list of programs:

Building More Equitable Pathways II (Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency):

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency:

News release – Actions to Accelerate Skilled Trades Growth: