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News   August 17, 2022   by Adam Malik

Skilled trades important but we don’t want to work in it: Canadians


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A new study finds Canadians recognize the value of the skilled trades industry. However, they wouldn’t want to pursue a career in it.

The 3M State of Science Index found overwhelming support for the industry — 96 per cent of Canadians agreed that the country’s workforce needs more skilled trades workers. But 76 per cent of them said they would never pursue a skilled trade for themselves.

This gap points to the importance of Canadian organizations championing skilled trades and the need to do more to showcase fulfilling career pathways available to young Canadians, 3M said.

“Getting Canada’s youth excited about skilled trades will be critical to ensuring a robust and healthy economy as we emerge from the impact of the global pandemic,” said Terry Bowman, manufacturing and supply chain leader at 3M Canada. “It is imperative Canadian organizations provide equitable access to STEM education to passionate young Canadians interested in pursuing a skilled trade.”

3M Canada has more than 900 skilled workers, he noted.

The shortage facing the trades is daunting as misconceptions and a lack of awareness about the industry makes it difficult to fill the talent gap, said Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario.

“For over 30 years, Skills Ontario has developed a growing portfolio of programs and initiatives to help students of all ages and backgrounds understand that they can find fulfilling career paths in the skilled trades and technologies,” he said in the announcement. “We also provide them, their parents, and their educators information on informative, skill-building programs and work-experience opportunities that can help them pursue these positions. The shortage is a challenge, but it is one we are addressing every day.”

Key findings from the index include:

  • 96% of Canadians agree the workforce needs more skilled trade workers.
  • 92% believe there is a lot of opportunity in skilled trades.
  • 91% trust vocational/trade schools to give them the education needed to have a successful career.
  • 81% believe they would earn as much money in a skilled trade as they would in a career that requires a degree from a traditional 4-year university/college.
  • Though Canadians think highly of skilled trades and the people who work in them, three-quarters (76%) would never pursue one themselves.
  • 47% of Canadians who did not pursue a career in a skilled trade said that the top reason was that they had other passions they wanted to pursue for a career.

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3 Comments » for Skilled trades important but we don’t want to work in it: Canadians
  1. Brian Browning says:

    No wonder in the Automotive trade we have such a hard time recruiting new workers. When you only have 24% of the people entering the workforce that have an interest in pursuing a career trades. The competition to entice them to Automotive becomes even more critical, such as good working conditions, good pay, good benefits. It will be interesting to see if this industry can pull it off when all us old farts are long gone.

  2. Michael Lavigne says:

    In some comment made about younger people pursuing a trade. In order to get and keep them they need to have proper training. Once that training has proven successfully then when employed they need not to be taken advantage of. In order to keep them salaries must be there not flat rate as this seems to not work. This is only to what I think .

  3. Lui says:

    What do you expect, 30 years of school shops closing across the country.
    General public that looks down at us like a bunch of grease monkey neanderthals and that the trades are a last resort. Generation that would rather play video games day and night in their parents basement and then inherit the house when they pass. Good book by Leonard Sax from a few years ago called Boys Adrift, good read,

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