3 Myths about the Skilled Trades as a Career Choice

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Myth #1: Skilled trade = Construction Workers, Plumbers and Electricians

When we think of a skilled trade we often think of the more traditional trades, such as carpentry or plumbing–physically demanding jobs where you get your hands dirty. But just as other jobs have evolved over time, so have the trades. You may not think of baking or cooking as being skilled trades, yet how many of us are addicted to watching cooking shows and baking competitions with people who have become famous by excelling in their skilled trade.

That’s not all, consider graphic technicians, think of advertising, magazines, and animation painters – all skilled trade workers – hired by multi-billion-dollar industries. As mentioned, skilled trades go well beyond the traditional trades. In fact, to date there are over 300 skilled trades.

Myth #2: Skilled trades are for students who do not do well in school

On the contrary. In fact, securing an apprenticeship means you are working towards a post-secondary education. The difference between an apprenticeship and a post secondary education is, you earn money while you learn—so you don’t need to worry about accumulating debt. You will have a very clear occupational goal with employers who are eager and ready to hire you. Skilled trades are one of the top professions in demand in Canada.

Nearly half of Canadians 18 and over do not have the essential skills needed to work in the trades. In addition, technology and new techniques are changing the nature of many trades. More and more trade workers use sophisticated computer software alongside mechanical equipment in order to perform their jobs. Key skills required in the trades include:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematical and analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • An aptitude for visualizing the end-product
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Coordination and dexterity
  • Proficiency with tools and computers

Myth #3: Skilled trades are a job, not a career

Skilled trades offer long-term sustainable careers with opportunities to advance to managerial positions, teaching and self-employment. Today’s technology allows for outdoor infrastructure projects to continue throughout the winter—so being laid off during the winter months is no longer a concern.

In 2005, over half the apprentices who completed their apprenticeships earned between $25 to $50 an hour–well above minimum wage and more than fresh university graduates make. And a tradesperson with a Red Seal endorsement–Canada’s standard of excellence for skilled trades–is able to work anywhere in Canada.

How can you get started with your Career in the Skilled Trades?

  1. Finish High School
  2. Find a trade
  3. Find an employer to hire you
  4. Get the employer to contact MTCU to register you as an apprentice
  5. Start your career

Want to know more about the trades?

March 4-8, 2019 is Careers in the Trades week. Learn about apprenticeship, explore the trades and meet with employers and trades organizations at an event near you: www.vpi-inc.com/trades

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