BC and Nova Scotia Marine Industry Training Groups Form 3-Year Agreement

Quadrant Marine Institute of Sidney, BC and The Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association (NSBA), Halifax, Nova Scotia, have formed an agreement to share training resources for Marine Service Technician apprenticeships.

Through a new three-year deal, Quadrant will provide NSBA with curriculum materials, assessment tools and ongoing consulting expertise for a new Marine Service Technician Apprenticeship Program. The program was developed in support of the Marine Service Technician (MST) trade recently designated by the Government of Nova Scotia.

"We're very excited about this new partnership,' says Tim Edwards, NSBA Executive Director, "as the new MST apprenticeship program will give much – needed recognition to the existing work force as well as help attract new workers to the industry.'

Marine Service Technicians repair and maintain pleasure boats, yachts and light commercial vessels. They are trained in a wide range of trade skills involving everything from sailboat rigging to engine installations.

The need for more trained and highly skilled professionals in the industry has grown dramatically in recent years as the technologies for building and servicing pleasure and commercial craft becomes more complex. At the same time, boat owners are demanding higher levels of quality from repair and maintenance facilities. Marine industry businesses are struggling to keep up with the changes and have been suffering from a shortage of skilled workers.

Quadrant has been delivering its MST apprenticeship (formerly Marine Repair Technician) since 1995 and currently provides its four-year training package under contract with the Industry Training Authority in BC. Certified technicians in increasing number are now being employed in boatyards, marinas and boat building facilities across British Columbia.

The NSBA, in partnership with the NS Labour & Advanced Education, has offered a Boat Building apprenticeship in Nova Scotia since 2005, under a licensing agreement with New Zealand. In recent years, the association has been working with their province to develop a new MST trade, which shares many common elements with the BC program.

"Training is critical to business success in this industry,' said Quadrant President, Campbell Black. "To have both east and west coasts collaborating on this much -needed program is a huge step forward.'