There are many myths that could deter you from a career in construction – a career in trades is for students who don’t do well in school, working in construction is unsafe, the only good career is one with a university degree – the list is endless. Don’t let these common myths deter you, in reality a career in construction or trades is one of the most rewarding careers out there. Still have questions about the Building Futures for Youth program? Check out our most frequently asked questions below. 


The Building Futures for Youth Program is designed primarily for students enrolled in Options and Opportunities (O2) and Co-Operative Education courses that focus on Construction/Trade/Technology and Community-Bases Learning courses. You must be:

  • In grade 10 or 11
  • 16 years of age by July 1st of your enrollment year
  • Registered in Co-op or O2 program

Please speak to a teacher if you are not registered but are interested in BFY.

October – December: Online applications are open

January: Due date for interview requirements (Resume, References, Interests)

February – March: Virtual interviews

April: Family information sessions

May – June: NSCC safety training

July – August: Work placements begin

September: Participant feedback & BFY Day celebration

*Please note that attendance is mandatory at all meetings, workshops and training. Failure to attend will result in removal from the program.

Students will:

  • Receive a broad base of exposure to various tools and equipment.
  • Be assisted in defining their career choices, as well as transition planning to post-secondary education/ and or work.
  • Receive an appropriate level of safety, experiential learning and training specific to the construction trades.
  • Gain an understanding of the Apprenticeship Model; be registered as a Construction Trades Pre-Apprentice.
  • Have the opportunity of career exploration in the construction trades.
  • Experience learning at NSCC, while being exposed to its programs, faculty, and facilities.
  • Be exposed to role models/potential mentors
  • Earn up to 3 Co-op credits towards your high school diploma
  • Potentially register as a Youth Apprentice and have their paid work placement hours credited towards Youth apprenticeship according to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education-Apprenticeship Training Division guidelines.
  • Have paid work for up to 7-weeks of placement
  • Certification in Fall Protection and scaffolding awareness for Construction Safety Nova Scotia
  • Training evaluations from NSCC
  • Construction Trades Pre-Apprenticeship ID card
  • Final workplace evaluation from their employer
  • Certificate of Participation from CANS (upon successful completion of the program).
  • Exposure to construction industry and trades occupations​
  • Safety training specific to construction workplace​
  • Understanding of apprenticeship model; registration as a pre-apprentice (300 hours)
  • Experience NSCC programs and facilities​
  • Gain up to 3 co-op credits for their participation​
  • Paid work for up to 7 weeks of placement​
  • NSCC scholarship opportunities ​

Workplace injuries occur every day. That’s why all BFY participants are required to complete a two-week safety training program with NSCC faculty and Construction Safety Nova Scotia. After completing the course, students receive an NSCC Construction Safety Awareness Certificate and are ready to get to work! This training could cost you hundreds of dollars down the road if you were to do it on your own – as a BFY student, you will receive this training at no cost.

  • Online Training in WHMIS, OH&S, First Aid/CPR prior to arriving at NSCC
  • NSCC Construction Safety Awareness Certificates, which include Fall Protection, Scaffolding, Electricity, Confined Spaces, Traffic Control, Tool Box ID, Hand & Power Tools, Documents/Drawings, Trades Match and more
  • Construction Safety Nova Scotia certificates in Fall Arrest Worker & Scaffolding Awareness
  • CANS administered Workplace Expectations

Registration for the BFY program costs the student $0. The program is free.

Please note: The student will be responsible for their own transportation to and from NSCC for their training, as well to and from their respective worksites during their summer work placement.


Just like any entry level worker, BFY students are Trades Helpers who can assist in multiple ways. Past students have held their own with roofing crews, working at heights with a lanyard. Our student have been assigned client projects in welding shops, worked with outdoor crews laying pipe or digging fence post holes, or pulling cable to wire a new residential building. Our youth are capable of more than merely cleaning and organizing, but they come to work with the right attitude and expecting manual labour.

BFY students are also co-op students, which mean that they are prohibited from operating a vehicle during work hours, even for simple tasks such as pulling a truck around to be loaded with materials. They are responsible for getting themselves to and from work each day, but some may be relying on a drive to drop them off/pick them up; traveling to various sites throughout the day may require they be able to travel with another worker.

It’s important to remember that BFY students are still in high school, and not at the same experience level as a post-secondary graduate apprentice. With the exception of safety gear, many may not own their own tools. However, what they lack in experience they make up for in attitude; our students are eager to learn and looking for a challenge!

We strive very hard to ensure that Host Employers are not overwhelmed by administrative paperwork. Anything that comes from the BFY program itself is streamlined for ease of use and consists mostly of a two-sided document at the beginning of the agreement, and another to evaluate the completion of it.

As the students are also earning co-operative credit courses for high school, there are a few more forms that their teacher will require be filled out. These are generally done at the initial in-person meeting to begin the summer placement, and the teacher will assist.

If you apply for a wage subsidy, there will be additional forms required. However, those are also created to be very user friendly and take little effort to complete.

The BFY program does not dictate wages, the Employer does. Since students are not only earning a paycheque for their labour, but also gaining co-op and pre-apprenticeship credits, they are instructed to view minimum wage as fair. However, we ask Employers to consider the type of labour students are asked to do and pay fair market wages accordingly.

The work placement takes place during the high school summer break of July and August. Students may not start before the first week of July but could begin a little later if a flexible start date is required. 

Approximately 200-220 hours of on-the-job hours complete the program, but individual work schedules will vary. Some students may complete the program in as little as five full time 40-hour weeks, while others may need longer. Even when the program requirements are met, the employer and student do not need to part ways if continued employment is mutually agreed upon.

Looking for more information?

Tanya Reddick

BFY Program Lead

Tel: 902-456-6444

Email: treddick@cans.ns.ca

Adam Gilbert

BFY Program Lead

Tel: 902-809-2297

Email: agilbert@cans.ns.ca