With 58,000 people in the workforce, Cape Breton Island has the second largest pool of workers to draw from in the province of Nova Scotia. The bilingual workforce is known for its dedication, loyalty and hard work.
This workforce is well educated with 27% of the workforce holding a university certificate, diploma or degree and more than 14% of the workforce having an apprenticeship, trades certificate or diploma. This number of trade certifications is well above the national rate of 12.4% and the Nova Scotia rate of 12%.
On average, employees in Cape Breton stay with their employers two times as long as their American counterparts with one of the lowest rates of absenteeism in North America.
The Cape Breton economy has demonstrated employment growth across a variety of industries and the workforce has proven itself to be adaptable and is meeting the needs of modern industry and a changing economy.
Many of Cape Breton’s talented tradespeople are currently working in Western Canada while continuing to reside in local communities. Depending on the season, between 1,200 and 2,200 workers regularly travel to and from the West, many of whom are working in the Alberta Oil Sands. These workers comprise skilled and unskilled trades with specific transportation, manufacturing and clean technology sector experience. This represents a significant source of talent.
Cape Breton workers have also developed particular strengths in computer and technical support services as there is a higher concentration of persons in the Cape Breton urban area working in computer support occupations than any other urban centre in Canada.
The education sector in the Cape Breton region is anchored by Cape Breton University(CBU) and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) campuses of NSCC Marconi in Sydney and the NSCC Strait Area Campus in Port Hawkesbury.
Flexible training and course development are available at CBU and the two local NSCC campuses thus skills development and training upgrades are easily accessible to companies choosing Cape Breton Island for new business development or expansion.
A number of private training schools are also located in the Cape Breton region and round out the training field with niche programs geared directly to industry.