Keeping Things Afloat – How the Trades Industry Is Managing the COVID-19 Crisis
Before the world became under siege from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic early this year, the trades industry was showing signs of great promise. Economy watchers and experts were even predicting that there will be a significant shortage for some job titles in five years’ or ten years’ time.
Now, because of the pandemic, things in the trades industry are a bit different compared to before. Construction managers and workers continue to be in stable demand, with industry experts even saying that a career within the construction sector is probably the few ones left that are pandemic-proof. This includes engineers, heavy equipment/machine operators, electricians, engineers, and project managers. However, for other skilled trades, the same thing can’t be said. Let’s take a quick look at the state of the skilled trades industry below.
Beyond the construction industry
Skilled trade workers are not only restricted within the construction sector. There are also skilled trades within essential services such as supermarkets and groceries because they require logistics occupations such as truck drivers, product movers, cargo agents, warehouse workers, as well as administrative and support workers to make sure the operations are running smoothly. Hair dressers are trades people; ask yourself, when is the last time you got a haircut?!
In Ontario alone, several skilled trades positions are up for grabs because they remain to be in high demand. As a result, the province issued a Notification of Interest (NOI) to 190 qualified individuals in end of April that targeted 14 occupations including: Structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters, Ironworkers, Electricians, Electrical power line and cable workers, Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers, Carpenters, Concrete finishers, Roofers, Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews, Heavy duty equip mechanics, Refrigeration and AC mechanics, Machine fitters, Elevator constructors and mechanics, and Crane operators. Candidates were asked to submit Express Entry profiles into the federal pool within the last 12 months preceding the draw date to qualify.
The province also launched a SkillsatHome initiative to encourage aspiring skilled trade workers and current ones to participate in challenges that they can safely participate from home such as wacky hair challenge and post their work on social media.
Oil and energy sector
Canada is abundant in oil and gas resources so it’s not surprising that careers in oil and gas, particularly a career as an oil driller or pipefitter, is in high demand, especially in Alberta and British Columbia. However, there has been a very large slowdown in this sector, but all the same, these provinces will see a shift to infrastructure projects especially in BC, which will provide skilled workers job prospects in more years to come.
Looking into the future
There’s a huge potential for the Canadian government to do more within its capacity to ensure the skilled trades industry stay afloat during the pandemic. Industry experts suggest to be more reliant on domestic production and less on the world. It also helps to launch initiatives to encourage more youth to join the skilled trades.