Why you should Consider the Skilled Trades
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not a tradesperson. But I know enough to know why you should consider this kind of career. My goal here is to help you check out the skilled trades to see if that’s an option that you would like to consider, especially if it’s something you never thought of before.
The number and range of trades have expanded greatly in recent years: it’s not just construction, plumbing and electrical. Those are the primary careers (the foundation, if you like) but they branch out into lots of different fields: such as painters, installers (say, for hardwood floors, cabinets, home security, roofing, or even for renovations in a house); and sheet metal workers. There are welders and furniture makers and finish carpenters. There are even HVAC technicians (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning). There are lots of jobs that aren’t as well known and should be considered when entering the trade sector.
When there are some trades that may not interest you, consider the variety that are available. Most offer an apprenticeship once you get through school, allowing you to get the immediate experience that many others spent a lot of time searching for in order to become employable. Apprenticeships generally involve spending time on the job site, learning from people who actually do that job, as well as in-class instruction. While others are searching for a career, you are already gaining experience from someone who can answer your questions one-on-one. And remember: there is no such thing as a stupid question. You are there to learn, and they are there to help you do that, and make sure that you develop a sound body of knowledge and learn the proper and safe way to do things.
In addition, work done by tradespeople must follow a set of rules and requirements, as per the Building Code, to be approved or inspected before it can be called complete. Therefore, with an apprenticeship you can claim that your work fits the requirements necessary (or to a higher standard), and be known as someone who does the right job in the right way.
Apprenticeships tend to vary in the length of time, so research helps you here if you know the career. You can also examine the job trades through the Canadian Job Bank, which helps you find occupations related to that career along with the average wage.
I had always thought the trades were something not to be admired or respected, because many people strive for something with an “intellectual pursuit” (as in working in an office or something like that). However, I’ve come to realize that the trades are actually a highly-desired career choice, if you can complete the tasks required of you. The stereotypes of trades workers not being “smart” or “intelligent” is just wrong and misguided. They are highly respected because they can do beautiful things that you can’t. I can’t make furniture or lay bricks in a straight line, but a skilled tradesperson can do these things and make them look wonderful as well as work the way they should. The trades are considered reliable jobs (particularly when compared to teachers) – you can start up your own company marketing your skills and develop clients that way. More people are employed than those looking for jobs, so the trades really help you obtain all the things people from all industries strive for: hard work, steady income, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
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