Legislative changes introduced today, April 10, will increase employer involvement in apprenticeship, and make it easier for apprentices to complete their training and get jobs in Nova Scotia. Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and the Community Colleges Act will lay the groundwork to establish an industry-led apprenticeship agency, make it easier for apprentices to have out-of-province experience recognized, and ensure apprentices are getting the training they need. “We need to change the way the apprenticeship system works in Nova Scotia if we want our businesses and apprentices to succeed,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “These changes will help us to build on our partnerships with industry, employers, apprentices and trainers so our trades can continue to grow and our workforce can take full advantage of opportunities.” Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act allow the new agency to be created. It will be led by industry and employers, and will work to improve employer involvement and expand opportunities for apprentices. “This is a great day for the industry and apprentices,” said Heather Cruickshanks co-owner, L.E. Cruickshanks Sheet Metal Ltd. in Halifax, and a member of the industry implementation team. “These changes will allow for better communication between industry, apprentices and training providers. “The system worked for some and not for others, so we simply gave it a tune-up. This is a win-win situation. Industry will have input on the training and delivery, and the apprentices will get the training they require for employment.” Apprentices who live in Nova Scotia but need to work in other provinces to gain practical experience in their trade will now be able to keep their apprenticeship registration in Nova Scotia. This change will make it easier for apprentices to have their out-of-province training recognized and help apprentices complete their apprenticeship without interruption. “I think the changes will make it easier for apprentices,” said Devon Connors, a fourth-year apprentice. “With industry involved, the training, testing and what industry really needs us to know, will line up and we will learn what we need for our trade.” Changes will also allow the province to issue cease and desist orders when someone is working without a certificate to practice in compulsory trades. Changes to the Community Colleges Act will encourage more industry influence in trades training and ensure pre-apprentices get the skills and training they need. These changes are the result of a series of consultations over the last few years with apprentices, employers, industry members and trainers to identify ways to improve Nova Scotia’s apprenticeship system. Recommendations include developing a new agency to give industry a greater voice in apprenticeship, with more authority, leadership and decision-making power. Recent changes to modernize apprenticeship also include more flexibility and authority for industry to set trade-specific ratios, harmonizing apprenticeship programming and standards across the Atlantic provinces, and a $2.6-million investment to expand apprenticeship training and program development.