Proposed amendments to the apprenticeship system will make it more responsive to industry, skilled trades people and consumers. Three amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act were introduced today, Nov. 1. They will clarify the provincial government’s regulatory role and provide expanded options for certification. “These changes will contribute to an effective, relevant system that meets the requirements of industry,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “They will help us ensure we have flexible training and certification options and that we recognize and reward continuing education in the skilled trades.” The amendments are based on issues and concerns raised by industry representatives during the ongoing trade regulation review process. “Flexibility is critical when it comes to training apprentices and journey people in any industry,” said Graham Conrad, executive director, Nova Scotia Automotive Sector Council and Automotive Trades Association of Atlantic Canada. “The proposed changes to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act are a positive step toward clarifying the apprenticeship training and certification process and tailoring it to industry needs.” The first amendment will enable the Department of Education to offer alternative approaches to certification through a certificate of proficiency. This new certificate will recognize people who have extensive practical trade experience but may have difficulty passing the formal written exam required for a certificate of qualification. It would be issued to people who have met a practical standard acceptable to industry but may have language, literacy and learning barriers making the system more inclusive. This will help people continue to work legally in the trade. The second amendment will clarify the department’s authority to regulate sub-trades. The regulation protects consumers by ensuring people have adequate training and are certified in a particular trade. Regulation will also protect the integrity of the industries and ensures there are people trained with the specific skills required by a particular trade. The third amendment recognizes and rewards ongoing learning opportunities for certified tradespeople to help them manage new technologies, trade skills, regulation and globalization. One of the first opportunities the department plans to offer is business competencies to better prepare skilled tradespeople who open their own business.