Canadians are dependent on the work of Skilled Tradespeople to keep our country running.
From building and maintaining our homes and vehicles to powering our electrical systems to hospitality and tourism, Skilled Trades workers touch many aspects of our lives.
Demand for professionals in this field is at an all time high as baby-boomers transition into retirement. The Skilled Trades include more than just the standard electrician, plumber or carpenter roles. With over 200 jobs across various sectors, there really is something for everyone.
Thinking of starting a career in the Skilled Trades? Here are eight things to keep in mind as you set out for your new, exciting career!
1. Choose a trade that interests you
The first step to choosing a trade that suits you is finding one that melds your interests with an in-demand professional in your region. Do your research – look into job openings and industry trends in your area. You may even discover new career paths you’ve never heard of before! Research each role and see what piques your interest.
2. Some trades open a wider range of career options
Because different regions have higher demand for different Skilled Trades occupations, it’s a good idea to think about pursuing an area of work that provides flexibility. Certain trades have transferrable skills that can be applied to different lines of work – for example, a Heavy-duty Mechanic or an Industrial Electrician. However, the more specialized the skills required for a job, the narrower job opportunities will be. If you’re the type who likes to switch things up every once in awhile, the flexibility of your trade is definitely something to consider!
3. Take advantage of pre-apprenticeship programs
An increasing number of colleges are offering pre-apprenticeship programs that give students the opportunity to dabble in different trades before committing to one area of study. These programs essentially allow you to test out what each job will entail and if it is something that will interest you.
4. Start at home
If you’re unable to enroll in a pre-apprenticeship program, consider the skills you already possess. Are you a natural Betty Crocker in the kitchen? Do you spend your weekends tinkering under the hood of an old hobby car? Think of how you can transform what you already enjoy doing into a career. Many Skilled Trades jobs are things you can start doing on a small scale in the comfort of your own home. This is a great way to gauge your interest in this trade – and at worst, you’ll be a little more handy around the house.
5. Apprenticeships are the most important step for aspiring tradespersons
Apprenticeships are the bread and butter of any aspiring trades worker. They allow you to learn a Skilled Trade by working alongside experienced professionals – not to mention you get paid while you learn!
Apprentices become skilled workers after they have built their knowledge and abilities on the job and become certified by a provincial or territorial authority. Most apprenticeships involve some classroom training and may require an exam before a full certification is granted.
6. Become an expert in a niche area
Specializing in a niche area is a great idea for people who want to become the go-to expert in a certain field. For example, a landscaper may choose to specialize in stonework for driveways and walking paths. While it is important to develop a broad range of transferable skills, it’s equally important to find an area of work you’re passionate about so you can set yourself apart from other professionals!
7. The learning never stops
Finished your apprenticeship and earned your certification? The learning doesn’t stop there! Just like any career, professional development is important in the Skilled Trades. Be curious and learn from those around you. Continue your formal training by acquiring additional certifications that are pertinent to your job to allow you to continue to grow and advance.