News Releases

March 16, 2023

Work-integrated learning model aims to bolster manufacturing workforce

The provincial government will invest $6.87 million in a partnership to help deliver a work-integrated learning model aimed at the workforce in the province’s manufacturing sector.

“The manufacturing sector accounts for roughly 10 per cent of our annual gross domestic product and we know its workforce has a large percentage of older workers who are rapidly nearing retirement age,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This funding, which will also help cover some of the developmental costs, will have a direct impact on this critical sector. It will help us solidify the workforce of today and of the future.”

Through the partnership with the University of New Brunswick (UNB), New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and Marshal Skills Academy Canada, four distinct programs have been created and will be delivered at the two public institutions.

“UNB is excited to offer these new programs alongside NBCC and Marshall Skills Academy to help support the current and future workforce of manufacturing,” said Petra Hauf, vice-president of the Saint John campus. “The manufacturing sector is the backbone of our economic and social development, and we look forward to being part of this forward-thinking initiative.”

“NBCC is well-positioned to support the development and delivery of new and innovative manufacturing programs,” said Ann Drennan, Vice President Academic, Innovation, and Student Affairs. “We are proud to partner on this important initiative that will equip New Brunswick’s future workforce with the skills and education they need to be successful.”

The four programs are:

  • Manufacturing Essentials (Micro-credential): An eight-week program giving a basic introduction to several trades and opportunities to build employability skills.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Diploma: An 18-month program leading to a certificate at the technician level. There is also a three-year option leading to a diploma at the technologist level.
  • Bachelor of Technology (Industrial): Participants complete a combination of in-person and virtual learning at UNB as well as tracking their on-the-job learning.
  • Masters in systems engineering (Industrial): This program is aimed at domestic and international graduates who have completed an applicable bachelor’s degree. International graduates will participate in a residential settling-in program for six weeks prior to the start of term.

Marshall Skills Academy Canada recently opened a production facility in Moncton which is expected to require up to 650 skilled employees over the next five years.

“We are pleased to partner in establishing a much-needed pipeline of manufacturing and engineering talent,” said Dan Edwards, general manager. “We are delighted to see New Brunswick taking a progressive approach to unlocking the growth of manufacturing while helping launch new careers and providing employers with access to the skills they need now and in the future.”

Participants will be employed by an industry partner from the beginning and will take part in an initial block of learning at the start of each academic year, followed by a schedule of four-days per week at work and one day in class at NBCC or at the Saint John campus of UNB. Information is available online for anyone interested in registering for one of the programs.

The programs will be targeted to high school students, underrepresented groups in the industry and those changing careers. It will also be used to attract people from other provinces and internationally. Education costs will be covered for participants. Student enrollment over the five-year pilot project is expected to total 454 across the four programs.

In 2021, 29 per cent of those employed in the manufacturing sector were 55 or over. It is estimated that by 2027 this sector will have nearly 10,000 job openings, driven largely by replacement demand.

Funding for the initiative is provided through the Canada-New Brunswick Labour Market Agreements.


Tanya Greer, Lead, Strategic Communications, (506) 440-9105