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Friday, July 4, 2014

Hiring of aboriginal workers seen as positive first step for shipyard: executive

HALIFAX - Irving Shipbuilding says it is employing aboriginal workers who graduated from a Mi'kmaq training program as a first step towards recruiting more minority workers.

The company says four Mi'kmaq tradespeople are working on siding, cladding and roofing at the yard through a contract Irving awarded to Flynn Canada Ltd.

Company president Kevin McCoy says Flynn won a $10-million contract for the work partly because it was making use of a program based in Sydney, N.S., that trains Mi'kmaq tradespeople.

He anticipates the shipyard will be hiring more Mi'kmaq tradespeople through the 21-year training program, but he declined to provide a specific target or give a current figure for the number of aboriginal workers in Halifax.

The company says it has been keeping the Mi'kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia informed of the skills it needs to allow the aboriginal agency to train workers that meet them.

Irving won a $25-billion contract in 2011 to build Canada's next generation of warships.

Construction of the Arctic offshore patrol vessels is expected to begin next year and the yard is building facilities for that project. -CP-

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