Shea Erskine grew up in a house where working with your hands was a way of life. So when it came time to decide what she wanted to do for a living, she didn't have to think hard.
"I love it," the second-year apprentice welder said during a break from work at the Halifax Shipyard on Wednesday.
"I haven't looked back since. I've been doing it full time for a year now and it's been a really great year."
Erskine and her colleagues were on hand as Premier Tim Houston rolled out details of his government's promised tax break for people who are younger than 30 and working in the skilled trades.
Those who qualify will get the provincial portion of their income tax back on the first $50,000 they make. The premier said the government expects about 7,500 people will qualify and the average return will be about $2,700.
Erskine said that money will help cover student debt, and comes at a time when the cost of living and housing continues to rise with little sign of slowing down.
"I think this program is a really good step in helping Nova Scotians navigate these challenges that we're facing," she said.
Hoping to attract more people
Although the program was first announced by the Tories during last summer's provincial election and as part of their first budget this spring, on Wednesday the government released details of the eligible skilled trades.
A total of 73 trades spanning the construction, industrial/manufacturing, motive power and service sectors are included.
Houston told reporters the intention was to focus the initial rollout of the program on sectors with the biggest labour shortages and ones that have learning pathways, such as apprenticeship programs. Other trades could be added in the future, he said.
The hope is the program will lead to more people working in the skilled trades, said Houston.
"We're hoping that people hear this, they talk to their friends [and] relatives in other areas of the country or other areas of the world and say, 'Look, come to Nova Scotia and make your life here.'"
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