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Nova Scotia’s premier touting youth trades training programs as important part of providing eventual job opportunities

HALIFAX (CP) — Nova Scotia’s premier is touting youth trades training programs as an important part of providing eventual job opportunities in the province’s struggling economy.

Stephen McNeil spoke at a Halifax car dealership Tuesday to promote the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and programs that have provided more than 500 students with trades experience.

He stressed the programs will only be a success if private companies join in to provide training opportunities.

“Without the ability for that apprentice to go out in industry, (the effort) really falls flat,” said McNeil. “It means fewer people complete their full apprenticeship and there are fewer tradespeople.”

The province says the first year of the agency has seen 180 new employers sign on with programs that have registered more than 1,300 new apprentices and 100 youth apprentices.

The agency says it has spent about $900,000 in youth apprenticeship programs over the past year.

Troy Bennett, fixed operations manager at Atlantic Acura, said he believes the apprenticeship programs are an investment in the future for businesses.

Bennett said it’s critical to have the pool of talent available as companies such as his continue to grow.

“Our future is at risk if we are not investing,” Bennett said.

McNeil has placed a high priority on apprenticeship training as the province tries to retain skilled trades workers and to attract those who have left the province in search of work.

Nova Scotia was among provinces pushing for changes that would make it easier for apprentices to move between jurisdictions while doing their training.

An agreement making that possible was signed earlier this month at the meeting of premiers and territorial leaders in St. John’s, N.L. The agreement is to take effect in January.

McNeil said he isn’t worried that the province may be providing training opportunities for people who find work elsewhere in Canada.

He said many will come back if they can.

“If we make sure we have provided every avenue for them to have the maximum amount of training that’s good for them that’s good for their families and the employers in this province,” he said.

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a<center>ME News - Connecting You To World News, Jobs And Content From Aroland First Nation Within the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Territory in Treaty 9