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News   October 7, 2015   by CARS Magazine

New report outlines value of skilled trades

New survey finds that half of all skilled trades workers in Canada are making more than $80,000 a year.

CAF reportThough parents and youth say they believe career opportunities in the skilled trades are limited, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) has published a new national report indicating the opposite is true.

A new report, entitled “The Benefits of a Skilled Trades Career: Journeyperson Perspectives and Experiences,” draws insights and observations from comments from 754 certified journeypersons across Canada.

It sheds new light on career progression in the trades.

Journeypersons point to benefits including good pay, interesting work, full-time employment and the job satisfaction that comes with building or creating something.

Based on a national survey with tradespeople at various stages of their career, 50 per cent of respondents reported making more than $80,000 annually.

“In recent surveys to gauge parent and youth understanding of the skilled trades, we were disappointed with the perception that skilled trades careers are ‘dead end jobs,'” said Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF-FCA’s executive director. “This study reflects a much different reality, one of broad opportunity both in the trades and in related occupations. Tradespeople often transition into different fields, including teaching, training, management and business ownership. We need to share that story with young people.”

When asked what a skilled trades career brought him, one respondent said “Massive adventure. I bought my first house at 21 and had a successful business by 24. I travelled around the world, became a professor by age 30… [all while] my university buddies were still eating Kraft Dinner.”

Another respondent said, “I would question the notion that front-end programs, like degrees and diplomas, are equivalent or superior to an apprenticeship as they often lack the most critical component-social interaction in the context of the workplace. No one ever learned how to be a senior executive at school. They learned it at work.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.52.01 PMThe survey found that the majority of journeypersons valued their Red Seal endorsement because it made them more employable and enhanced their labour mobility. Many had also become mentors themselves, expressing satisfaction in becoming leaders who promote a positive work environment, model good safety practices and facilitate team collaboration.

These findings will support conversations with youth, parents and educators, and be included in future updates to CAF-FCA’s career awareness resources.

The Benefits of Skilled Trades Careers:

According to journeypersons, the primary benefits of skilled trades careers are:

  • good pay (53%)
  • interesting work (53%)
  • full-time employment (48%)
  • satisfaction in building and creating something (48%)
  • opportunities to do different kinds of work (46%)
  • not an office job (34%)
  • a chance to travel (25%)

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2 Comments » for New report outlines value of skilled trades
  1. Lloyd says:

    Speaking from personal experience, a foundation in skilled trades can definitely open doors to additonal opportuntiies. As someone who runs a large fleet, I can confidently say that skilled trades progression can definitely extend beyond the shop floor. This is the main source for our first level management and with the deisre and additonal education/experience, even the most senior levels are attainable.

  2. DAVID G. JOHNSTON says:

    where in the world are you getting wage figures that you are reporting.
    most trade people i know dislike the new red seal program(money grab cost went from 60.00 for 3 years to 120.00 for a year for license renewal)
    wages in south western ontario seldom exceed 30.00 per hr.

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