Learn a Trade Skill (Whether You Use It...

Learn a Trade Skill (Whether You Use It or Not)

by Anthony Teles
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Intellectual pursuits are all the craze. Even well-intentioned teachers and professors will put exorbitant weight on language, math, and science. In a world of growing automation and technology, hands-on work has a tendency to be neglected. However, learning a trade skill, regardless of your ultimate career path, is something to strongly consider.

We rely more and more on technology that we understand less and less. From the many components to the cars we drive, to the mysterious inner-workings of the phones we use for virtually everything, we are more and more dependent on items that could malfunction at any time. What then? What happens when your car breaks down halfway to class? Or when something goes wrong in your home at the worst possible time?

Trades can make you quite popular in times of need. Your know-how can help put people at ease before a licenced electrician or mechanic is on the scene. Learning a trade skill is more than just a popularity contest, though. The education can give you a greater appreciation for the world around us that operates under the hood.

Electricians hop from house to house, building to building, to ensure the electricity is doing as it should. While you sleep, an emergency call at 3:00 a.m. will be attended to and the issue resolved before you even wake up. This is the result of years of practice, apprenticeships, and dedication to a trade. This is the side of society that keeps things running – the very things some people will praise as more important.

Learning a trade skill through a course or short program lets you see this other side in full force. It does not have to be a full-time pursuit. It could be a night course on car mechanics, or perhaps a weekend carpentry class. You may never earn a dollar from it. Then again, you could save a dollar or two when you are able to make or fix something all on your own.

In an economy shifting towards short-term work, juggling multiple jobs, and entrepreneurial efforts, diversifying your skillset is abundantly useful. The stability of long-term jobs until retirement may be a thing of the past, but this change paves the way for more adventurous and less predictable career paths. Your trades skill could become a crucial part-time job, or even be incorporated into the larger plans of your own business as an entrepreneur.  Someone in theatre could build parts of their own set, while someone else with their own store can fix little problems without having to call for help.

The simplistic and flat-out incorrect notion that the trades are a second resort for those who could not get into university is quickly fading. Trades skills are gaining the respect they have thoroughly deserved. Now is the perfect time to check out classes and courses in your area to try your hand at a skill. It could be for a career, as an additional talent for use down the road, for simple enjoyment, or to gain appreciation for the oft-neglected work that goes into making our society function.


Clarkson, Natalie and Daniel Orton. “Want a good career? Become a plumber, electrician, or learn any other trade.” GoThinkBig. https://gothinkbig.co.uk/

Geremia, Anthony. “The Value of Skilled Trades.” Centennial College. http://www.centennialcollege.ca/centennial-college-blog/2014/october/22/the-value-of-skilled-trades/

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