10/19/2012 11:01 EDT | Updated 12/19/2012 05:12 EST

Training, career advice to be offered to future shipbuilders under new agreement

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says Irving Shipbuilding plans to contribute $250,000 annually for 30 years to support recruitment and training efforts for students interested in shipbuilding.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nova Scotia Community College that focuses on providing educational opportunities and career advice.

The agreement says they will strive to ensure that minority groups, including First Nations, African Nova Scotians, women and people with disabilities, are able to take advantage of career opportunities.

Ottawa announced a year ago that the Irving shipyard in Halifax would receive the lion's share of its $35-billion federal shipbuilding procurement project.

Under its $25-billion deal, the Halifax shipyard will build 21 combat vessels.

The memorandum of understanding signed today is not binding, but a more definitive agreement is expected as shipbuilding contracts are finalized.

Irving Shipbuilding says it expects to hire some 1,500 workers over the next eight to 10 years.