Boat Builder Apprenticeship Program

The Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA) and the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation (NZMITO), coordinates and delivers a comprehensive Boat Builder Apprenticeship Program (BBAP) to help ensure the development of a competent workforce trained to international boatbuilding standards.

Training Boatbuilders – A Team Effort

The NS BBAP involves Apprentices, Certified Journeypeople and Mentors, Owner-Operators, the NSAA and NSBA’s Industry Training Coordinator (ITC).


If you’re looking to start a challenging and interesting career as a Nova Scotia boatbuilder, contact us first. Our ITC and Training and Certification Coordinator Jan Fullerton will look at your resumé and talk with you about your current skills, and find out if the boatbuilding industry could be right for you. You can reach Jan by email at or by phone at 902-423-2378 during regular business hours.

Once you find employment, your first responsibility will always be to your new employer. As an employee of the boatyard, you will be responsible for getting your work done on time and to company standards.  The continually evolving BBAP supports employers training new employees with emphasis on building demonstrated competencies and a commitment to lifelong learning.  The BBAP requires Apprentices to learn on the job, and prioritizes:

  • Tools for performance management,
  • Increased awareness of health and safety in the workplace,
  • Greater job commitment, and
  • Consistent quality of work

Once you have completed your probationary three months at the yard, a representative from the NSBA Training Department and the NSAA will register you as an Apprentice. During these initial visits, the apprenticeship program will be explained to you and you will receive a NS BBAP  Logbook. Each Logbook contains the Certification Pathways, Assessment Results Sheets and Evidence of Competency Sheets. For each unit outlined in the pathways, there is a workbook. You will be required to purchase these electronic workbooks at a cost of $15 incl. GST each. You will use the Evidence of Competency sheets to record your progress of learning for each skill set. Each time you feel that you’re learning a new skill, and can perform this task competently and consistently, ask your Mentor to check your work. If he or she is satisfied, they will record this in your Logbook.

The ITC will visit you and all the other Apprentices quarterly to review your progress. It is up to you, the Apprentice, to track your progress and learn new skills. Registered Mentors are there to help train you, and the Training Coordinator is there to offer support, but it is your responsibility to keep track of your progress – and learn new skills.

It is also possible for Apprentices to register for certification courses through the American Boat and Yacht Council, which the NSBA regularly hosts in Canada.

In general, Apprentices are responsible for: keeping informed of their trade, learning and applying skills to the boatyard, maintaining high productivity, being actively involved in the apprenticeship process, and completing on-the-job and technical program requirements.  The NSBA will assist you along with your Mentor.

Certified Journeypeople and Mentors

Certified Journeypeople are skilled, experienced boatbuilders working on the shop floor. They are among the most skilled in a particular area of boatbuilding.

If you are interested in receiving your Nova Scotia Boat Builder Certificate of Qualification and becoming a Certified Journeyperson, please email for more information.

Mentors are responsible for assessing Apprentices’ competency in various boatbuilding skills. He or she also acts as a trainer and ensures that the Apprentice receives the best training for each skill set as well as helping answer Apprentices’ questions.

Mentors are given a thorough orientation by the ITC and participate in the quarterly review process with the Apprentice and a representative from the NSBA Training Department to make sure the program is running smoothly – and that the Apprentice is working effectively to help keep the shop productive and the work quality high.

Mentors are responsible to model the highest trade standards, teach to the best of their ability, and provide active supervision and feedback.  The NSBA will work to coordinate Mentors with the support of business Owner-Operators.


Any boatbuilding company that wants to be involved in NS BBAP must be committed to training new entrants to the boatbuilding industry in a safe working and learning environment.  The Owner-Operator’s role is to hire new employees and to encourage them in pursuing the apprenticeship path; they allow Apprentices to fulfil the requirements of their program while minimizing barriers in the workplace that would prevent a transfer of learning.  Owner-Operators also must evaluate the performance of both Apprentices and Mentors on a routine basis.  NSBA assists in ensuring the business meet the requirements set by the NSAA.

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA) is responsible for registering Apprentices, administering and enforcing the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualification Act, General Regulations and Trade Regulations.  The division maintains a database of completed credits for Boat Builder Apprentices and is the certifying body for Apprentices.  Once Apprentices complete all of the requirements of their program, the NSAA will present to them a Certificate of Qualification.

For more information on NS Boat Builder Apprenticeship, click here.

For a video Test Drive of the Boat Builder trade, click here.

For information on apprenticeship in Nova Scotia through the NSAA, visit

Click here to return to the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association Training Page.

NSBA acknowledges the support of  NS Logo