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Seaspan Shipyards invests $1.35M in Indigenous marine skills training

Seaspan Shipyards announced a $1.35 million investment to increase training and apprenticeship opportunities for Indigenous students aged 19 through 30 interested in building a career in the trades, including in the growing shipbuilding and marine sector.  

The three-year investment is being made in the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), a non-profit organization that has been providing education and employment training for the urban Indigenous community since 1999.

Seaspan’s investment will support skills upgrading and technical training in welding and metal fabrication through the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Beginning in 2022, Seaspan’s investment will also help establish a Trades Sampler Program to introduce Indigenous high school students in five Lower Mainland districts to career opportunities in the trades. Seaspan’s investment will also support an annual $25,000 Seaspan Student Scholarship fund.

This investment is part of Seaspan’s ongoing partnership with the ACCESS organization. Since 2016, Seaspan has invested more than $4.3M in ACCESS as a part of Seaspan’s value proposition commitment under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

To mark the occasion, Seaspan also released a video featuring special messages from several stakeholders and ACCESS students.

“We know that ensuring a strong economic recovery means leaving no one behind. Seaspan Shipyards’ collaboration with ACCESS will unlock Canada’s potential, while creating more opportunities for Indigenous young people to engage in training and upskilling, and access these long-term careers.” –   The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Creating meaningful opportunities for Indigenous youth is key to building long-term economic resilience. This collaboration between Seaspan Shipyards and ACCESS will provide Indigenous youth in British Columbia, particularly here on the North Shore, with the training and workplace opportunities necessary to support their future employment and participation in Canada’s economy.” –   The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Today’s investment in ACCESS will help ensure Indigenous youth in British Columbia are involved in Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Through the creation of new training opportunities and apprenticeships in the growing shipbuilding and marine industry, this investment will provide long-term economic growth, jobs, and opportunities for Indigenous youth.” –   Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“ACCESS takes pride in serving our urban Indigenous community. Training and employment lead to a brighter future and Seaspan is one of our most valued partners. By providing real opportunity for meaningful and long-term employment, Seaspan expands the ability of ACCESS to support our community.” – Lynn White, President & CEO, ACCESS (Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society)

“Having a continuous pipeline of skilled trades is fundamental to shipbuilding, and programs like ACCESS play a critical role in developing that talent pool. We hope this investment will enable young urban Indigenous students to pursue new and exciting career opportunities in the growing marine industry in British Columbia.” – Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards



• The National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) objectives are to develop a sustainable, competitive marine industry and to renew the federal fleet with ships built in Canada by Canadians.

• Seaspan has become a major economic and job creation engine for BC while contributing more than $1.5 billion dollars to Canada’s GDP and directing more than $1 billion in NSS-related contracts to more than 670 suppliers from coast to coast. (Source: Deloitte Socioeconomic Impact Study, February 2020).

• Under the NSS, Seaspan Shipyards is building the non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. In 2019, Seaspan delivered the first ship under the NSS and, in 2020, delivered the first full class of vessels. Seaspan is currently building the first Joint Support Ship for the Royal Canadian Navy – the largest naval vessel by length ever to be built in Canada – as well as the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV), Canada’s most modern science research vessel.

• Seaspan was also recently selected to build a Polar Icebreaker, the flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.

• Before today’s announcement, Seaspan had invested over $22M to support education, learning, research and skills development to the benefit of its current and future employees and of the broader Canadian marine industry.

• Seaspan has been partnering with ACCESS since 2016 as part of Seaspan’s focus on reducing barriers for underrepresented groups, bringing a broad range of new talent into the industry and into the trades, including more women and Indigenous peoples, and creating opportunities for youth through internships and apprenticeships.

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