Still space to learn new business skills

Still space to learn new business skills

< Back to Articles | Topics: Spotlight | Contributors: Vanessa Margueratt, Labour, Skills and Immigration, Robert Bernard, Ascent & Descent Space Solutions Ltd. | Published: September 2, 2022

With the advent of modern spaceflight, ambitious entrepreneurs have been creating more companies around the world, capitalizing on the global space economy’s $1.25 trillion projected revenue by 2030 (see Northern Sky Research’s 2022 Global Space Economy Report for more details). Even within Canada, businesses are trying to establish themselves so they can take a piece of this revenue. With the development of a spaceport in our very own province, this propensity is only going to increase.

Recognizing this opportunity and inspired by various space mission stories (such as the Apollo 5 mission led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Robert Bernard, P. Eng., founded Ascent & Descent Space Solutions Ltd. in 2020. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Bernard had already earned both a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Carleton University in 2005 and a Master of Science degree in Space Studies from the International Space University in 2018. Locating the company in Nova Scotia was a logical choice, given that Bernard was born and raised here — plus, he wanted to try to help both his province and country better retain its technical talent.

Ascent & Descent Space Solutions is actively investigating a variety of different space technologies to produce, like deployable mechanisms for satellites, propellant tanks for usage on launch vehicles and spacecraft, and technologies that support ascent and atmospheric re-entry operations. Bernard uses his professional background to bolster his company’s endeavours — he has over a decade of experience as a structural engineer that spans working in the Canadian aerospace and defence sector to the European Space Agency in the space sector. When not focusing on development of new technologies, Ascent & Descent Space Solutions contracts out Bernard’s expertise in engineering to aid other businesses.

Though highly skilled, Bernard quickly recognized that a successful entrepreneur must be able to effectively communicate, sell, focus, learn, and strategize. He knew that growing a business would require a sound strategy based on inherent business sense and skills, so he sought guidance. “I do not have a business degree, so any courses focused on improving productivity and knowledge for business owners are an asset for me to attend,” says Bernard.

Bernard recently completed the Workplace Education Initiative, a program funded by Labour, Skills and Immigration. “I was able to attend focused courses, spread out over several weeks, with a number of hours that provided minimal disruptions,” he says. “This time allowed the topics taught to be directly applied into company operations — in many cases, almost immediately.”

The Workplace Education Initiative provides business skills training to business owners and their employees, at no cost to participants. The training runs over ten weeks (four hours per session) and is customized to individual, industry, and community needs. Workplace Education Initiative training enhances individual workplace skills and supports businesses and organizations to be more successful, open to change, and ready for growth.

Businesses and organizations need the skills that are in demand; the Workplace Education Initiative helps Nova Scotian businesses gain the skills needed to innovate and compete. “As my small business matures, there will be costs that it will eventually need to incur in order to remain operational,” says Bernard. “However, as a result of developing my skills through these courses, I am now able to do my own bookkeeping and basic accounting. I’ve learned legal essentials for business, allowing me to draft standard contracts and only obtain paid legal advice as necessary. I’ve even designed and currently maintain the website and social media for our company.”

Bernard estimates that this workplace training has resulted in cost savings of at least $15,000 to date. Through his business and acting as volunteer, he has also used these skills to support a rocketry association called Launch Canada (learn more at Launch Canada, in affiliation with a group called the StarDust Alliance, hosted Canada’s very first high-powered amateur rocketry competition during the first week of August 2022 (learn more at

The Workplace Education Initiative promotes and supports business skills development by increasing knowledge and enhancing critical workplace skills. “The time developing my business skills was time well spent,” says Bernard. “The Labour, Skills and Immigration programs have been instrumental in allowing me to foster relationships and find new opportunities. Without a doubt, I would not have been capable of continuing the operation of my own company had I not taken these courses.”

If you are interested in learning more about the programs offered through the Workplace Education Initiative visit:

Learn more about Ascent & Descent Space Solutions Ltd. at:

< Back to Articles | Topics: Spotlight

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