Study: Oceans Industry Careers Under Radar in New Brunswick

A study released on 31 July 2018 highlights the need to increase awareness among New Brunswick youth about career opportunities in the oceans industry, including aquaculture, shipbuilding, boatbuilding, tidal energy, and ocean technologies.

The Student Intentions and Perceptions Study, developed by researchers for the Marine People Partnership (MPP) at the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE), along with the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD), summarizes data and insights gained from a survey of over 3,200 students in grades 6-9 across New Brunswick regarding careers in the Oceans Industry. To view the Student Intentions and Perceptions report click here.

This study provides insights into the future educational and career plans of this cohort, and reveals that the greatest sources of influence to their career exploration are, in order of preference, their parents and family, their peers, and the internet.

Study highlights reveal that more than a third of New Brunswick youth expressed the intention to leave the province after high school. What’s even more interesting is that counter to popular discourse, it is not pessimism in the opportunities and job prospects regionally that is pushing these youth out. Indeed, the study revealed strong optimism and confidence in the presence of good jobs in the province. Instead, mobility for this cohort is motivated by a pull to explore options elsewhere, which is largely influenced by the regional socialization and normalization of the trend of leaving for work.

“The important difference is that our youth are interested in leaving, not because they feel that have to, but rather, because they want to,” said Dr. Sherry Scully, Director of Learning and Organizational Development, IORE. “If this mobility motive is common to youth nationally, and not just a maritime phenomenon, then this begs us to re-consider our thinking on interprovincial mobility and how we can appeal to this interest with youth-from-away.”

The study also revealed that very few students (~13%) are interested in a career in the Oceans industry, and only slight more (~21%) are interested in careers in skilled trades and technology roles. Given the emergence and acceleration of oceans sectors relating to aquaculture, shipbuilding, boatbuilding, tidal energy, and ocean technologies, this speaks to a tremendous loss of opportunity for our youth to participate and engage regionally.

The Student Intentions and Perceptions Study leveraged insights gained from a national study examining workforce development in the greater marine industry, entitled Marine People Partnership: The Challenges, Needs and Opportunities. Visit www.shipsforcanada.ca to view the Marine People Partnership report.

The Marine People Partnership’s work on research into human resource needs in the Canadian marine sector is funded in part by Irving Shipbuilding, as part of its Value Proposition commitment under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

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