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July 27, 2009

Halifax Shipyard expands work force for frigate modernization project

While Canada ponders the way forward for its shipyards through a Government sponsored "Shipbuilding Consultation," a hiring drive by Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax Shipyard in Halifax, N.S., demonstrates the potential for Canadian Navy programs to generate jobs.

Halifax Shipyard is growing its workforce for major projects including the mid-life modernization of seven HALIFAX-class frigates for the Canadian Navy. The yard is currently in the process of hiring management and technical positions. By the end of this year, the yard expects to more than double its staff levels, and trade positions are expected to almost triple by this time next year.

Canada's FELEX(Frigate Life Extension) project will manage both the modernization of the combat systems and a planned mid-life ship refit program to ensure the frigates remain effective to the projected end of their service life. This work will encompass modernization of the ships' platform, including ships' systems upgrades, acquisition and installation of new capabilities, such as enhanced radar, changes to the platform needed to accommodate the new capabilities, and integration of all aspects of the ships' operations into an upgraded command and control system.

Halifax Shipyard was awarded the $549 million contract for the on-going maintenance and repair of the frigates in March 2008. The program is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The program includes Mid Life Refits (MLR), Dock Work Periods (DWP) and Engineering Changes on seven East Coast frigates (HMCS Halifax, HMCS Fredericton, HMCS Charlottetown, HMCS Toronto, HMCS St. John's, HMCS Ville de Quebec, and HMCS Montreal.)

The first Dock Work Period (DWP) for the HMCS Charlottetown is scheduled for completion in August, 2009. The next frigate in line for a DWP is HMCS St. John's which is scheduled to arrive later this year. Each DWP is approximately 17 weeks in duration and requires about 75,000 person hours of work.

The first Mid-Life Refit is scheduled for September 2010 for HMCS Halifax. The Mid-Life Refit is approximately 12 months in duration, requiring 375,000 person hours for each of the seven frigates.

In total the FELEX Program represents an estimated 3.3 million person hours of employment for Halifax Shipyard workers. Together with other project work expected at the yard, including the construction of a UT755 offshore supply vessel for Atlantic Towing Limited, up to 300 staff and 850 trades employees will be employed at peak in mid-2010.

Virtually all skilled trades are employed at the yard. Some trades hiring will occur during 2009, with peak hiring for skilled trades taking place in spring 2010.

Preparation, planning and coordination for the mid-life refit work are well underway. This year alone, the yard is increasing its staff levels by 173 people. To date 85 positions have been filled, and the yard is currently recruiting almost another 100 management and technical positions over the next six months.

The general list of staff positions required at this time includes:

New Construction Program Manager
Senior Planning/Scheduling Manager
Senior Project Manager Planners - Leads, Electrical, Pipe, Mechanical, Steel, etc.
Mechanical Engineer
Pipe Draftsman Estimators - Pipe & Mechanical
Electrical Manager
Mechanical Supervisors
Painter/Blaster/Laborer Supervisors
Electrical Supervisors
Mechanical Completions Inspectors
Electrical Completions Inspectors
Supply Chain Manager
Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Leads
Buyers
System Analyst
Expeditors
Performance Management and Employee Development Lead
HSE Advisors

"This is an exciting time for Halifax Shipyard. We are committed to meeting and surpassing the expectations of the Navy," said David Thomson, Director of Human Resources at Halifax Shipyard. "To that end, we are now actively recruiting a team of professionals to successfully complete this project with our highly skilled work force at the Halifax Shipyard."


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