08/26/2013 10:56 EDT | Updated 10/26/2013 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick workforce plan aims to meet pipeline needs, premier says

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government has released a three-year plan intended to bolster the province's workforce, an initiative the premier says is crucial with the proposed Energy East Pipeline project.

David Alward says it's important that New Brunswick is prepared with skilled labour to meet the needs of the west-east pipeline, which could see oil shipped from Alberta to the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John in 2018 if it is approved.

The plan includes 44 goals aimed at supporting the education system and skills development, including the expansion of a teen apprenticeship program in Saint John that launched as a pilot project.

The strategy also commits the government to develop a program aimed at finding women jobs in trades.

Alward says he doesn't know how much the strategy will cost.