The Ocean Technology and broader Oceans sector in Nova Scotia is a rapidly growing community.  Presently the sector is comprised of entrepreneurs, innovators, and employees who have not typically followed traditional career paths to arrive in their current role. Indeed, serendipity defines the career paths for most, which makes it difficult for post-secondary institutions (PSIs) to replicate with programs of study. This in turn hampers efforts aimed at building career literacy for the sector among the next generation of workers.

Dr. Sherry Scully’s study provides insight to the skills and competencies employers are looking for when hiring employees in the Oceans sector. Data was collected via survey and one-on-one interviews from industry representatives from nine ocean oriented industries (marine defence, marine renewables, ocean research & observation, oil & gas, fishing & aquaculture, marine tourism, ship building, boat building, marine transportation).

Participants of the survey revealed strong optimism in the potential for growth across the ocean industries. However, the data also revealed significant anticipated workforce challenges in the future, few having talent management strategies in place to begin addressing these challenges. The survey exposed five priority workforce issues including; competency gaps of critical employee roles, cultivating high demand critical employees, preparing for impending retirements, positioning youth for regional recruitment, and developing essential, professional, and 21st century skills and competencies.

This research study was initiated and funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Advanced Education, and Department of Business, in partnership with the Ocean Technology Council of Nova Scotia (OTCNS), Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), and the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE).

Read the whole report here: Final Report

Development Day! November 23, 2016

The Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE), in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) and Big Data Alliance of Nova Scotia are hosting a development day for students and teachers across the province on Wednesday, November 23rdOur Ocean Playground is a full day hands-on, experiential learning opportunity focused on helping our students and teachers to build deeper learning connections with our oceans. The day integrates technology, explores innovation, and promotes entrepreneurship by focusing on the growing importance of oceans in our lives and in our world.

Supported by funding from Irving Shipyards Inc. (ISI) and the Ocean Technology Council of Nova Scotia (OTCNS), IORE has developed a Teacher Professional Development program for this event. This professional development day will focus on building the confidence and competence of middle school teachers in the delivery of experiential ocean education, and will help to profile and raise awareness of the regional industry and its various sectors. The workshop topics include;

  • marine renewable energy
  • marine optics and acoustics
  • aquaculture
  • and shipbuilding and boatbuilding

Teachers will have a chance to participate in interactive investigations relating to these key ocean sectors in our province, led by regional experts from industry and academia. These workshop investigations will link science, technology, engineering and math, with concepts relating to the ocean economy and ecology, careers, innovation & entrepreneurship, and local communities.

IORE Exploration and leadership EXPEDITIONS!

In Collaboration with The Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise, Outward Bound Canada is offering a selection of FULLY FUNDED course opportunities!

More information about the program can be found on the Fall Expeditions Flier from Outward Bound Canada.

Click HERE to download the flier.

OUR OCEAN PLAYGROUND – Education Day 2016


Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax Nova Scotia

Be part of an exciting event focusing on experiential ocean education. You will have a chance to participate in interactive investigations relating to 4 key ocean sectors in our province, led by regional experts from industry and academia. Participate in hands-on experiences that will link science, technology, engineering and math, with concepts relating to the ocean economy and ecology, careers, innovation & entrepreneurship, and local communities.


All types of farming rely on a good understanding of lifecycles and ecosystems. Learn more about the controlled farming of freshwater and marine fish and aquatic plants, and gain insight into how this growing industry is contributing to the economy of small coastal communities across our region. (French/English)

Marine Renewable Energy

All movement is energy. Find out how energy is being harnessed from tides, waves and currents. Meet local innovators who are on the cutting edge of this technology, and build efficient turbines that best balance the need to capture energy with the interests of preserving aquatic ecosystems. (English)

Marine Optics and Acoustics

Explore how sight & sound and the behaviour of light and sound waves behave and vary in marine environments. Understand how local researchers and innovators use this science to develop technologies that help us to see and hear throughout the ocean – and see how this information helps to inform activities relating to ecology, the economy, and global societies. (English)

Shipbuilding and Boat Building

Investigate how the properties of materials and ocean water influence the design and construction of marine vessels. Explore cutting-edge technologies and careers that are emerging from these booming sectors, and discuss the impact on communities and the economy across the province. (French/English)

A new research study from the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE) and the StFX Faculty of Education is looking to shed light on the career perceptions and intentions of Nova Scotia junior high school students, including perceptions on several emerging regional sectors.

Dr. Sherry Scully, IORE’s Director of Learning and Organizational Development, and StFX education professor Dr. Katarin MacLeod received a $15,000 Mitacs Accelerate grant to employ StFX education PhD student Laura Stiles-Clarke to analyze and recap results from a survey conducted with Grades 6-9 students across Nova Scotia.
The grant comes under the Mitacs Accelerate Program, which connects graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with companies through short-term research projects. Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization that facilitates collaboration between academia and industry, government and other organizations.
“It’s been a wonderful partnership, and in some ways a model, in that academia and industry can work together to accomplish something for the good of the entire province,” Dr. MacLeod says.
Having both academia and industry work together on the research lends an added layer to the results, adds Dr. Scully, who brought the idea of a partnership to StFX.
Dr. Scully says the idea for the project was born out of earlier research she had completed, and a desire to look further into career literacy, to explore what young people are thinking about in terms of general career interests, and specifically about careers in the region and in the marine industry and skilled trades.
The researchers wanted to survey younger students still enrolled in general science courses to gain insight into when and how career perceptions are formed, she says.
Drs. Scully and MacLeod worked together to launch the pilot study, and working with the StFX Research Grants Office, put together the proposal for Mitacs.
“StFX has been endeavouring to expand its working relationship with Mitacs. This Accelerate Award is an excellent opportunity for one of our doctoral students in education to gain valuable applied experience in the industry and government sectors. We are also delighted to partner with the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise on this cutting-edge study of young science students’ perceptions of career opportunities in Nova Scotia,” says John Blackwell, Director of StFX’s Research Grants Office.
In January, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood, the researchers launched the Student Intentions and Perceptions survey in all English, French, and Mi’kmaq school boards across the province. The survey received almost 14,500 responses, nearly a 40 per cent response rate.
Dr. Scully says results could provide insights into the perceptions of careers in trades and technology, engineering, ocean sciences and marine careers, and the factors that influence these perceptions as well as key times for career counselling and awareness and exposure programs.
Ms. Stiles-Clarke says it’s been a wonderful opportunity for her to work on this research.
“It’s brought a whole other dimension to my learning,” she says, noting the networking and learning opportunities created.
“It’s been hugely valuable for me to develop my research skills. It also opened up new knowledge that wouldn’t have happened without the grant,” she says.
The project has produced several reports, including an industry report that has been presented to the Nova Scotia Department of Education. Dr. MacLeod says they believe the project has the potential for multiple journal articles as well as conference presentations and a later follow-up study.