Looking for a Trade in BC? Think...

Looking for a Trade in BC? Think Culinary, Automotive, and Construction

by Sarah Leung
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

BC students interested in trades career paths should consider culinary, automotive, and construction jobs. According to the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) in 2021, 20 per cent of Canadians work in skilled trade markets like construction, manufacturing, services, and automotive.

That same year, the Government of British Columbia identified the top in-demand trades jobs from 2021–2031. The top three in-demand trades were:

  • Cooks
  • Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics, and mechanical repairers
  • Construction trade helpers and labourers

BC estimates that there will be over 25,000 job openings in these fields alone, and they need more workers. Here’s a breakdown of those occupations:


Cooks plan and prepare meals, clean kitchens, and order supplies for meals. They work either part-time, full-time, on call, or on contract.

Where they work varies. Cooks work anywhere from restaurants to hotels, to schools or even cruise ships. Cooks generally work under pressure with other cooks. They need to communicate with their team and be mindful of customers’ requests.

Education Needed and Wages
Cooks earn an average of $33,370 yearly, with wages ranging from $15.20–$21.77 an hour. The education required for cooks depends on the employer.

Some employers require high school completion or a culinary arts program completion, but a certification is not currently required to work as a cook in BC.

BC’s new “Skilled Trades Certification” initiative makes trade certification mandatory, but

it currently omits cooks. Those looking into certification need to complete a three-year apprenticeship program.

Automotive Service Technicians, Truck and Bus Mechanics, and Mechanical Repairers

Automotive Service Technicians 

Automotive service technicians adjust, fix, or replace parts of automotive systems such as brakes, fuel systems, and steering and suspension. They also test those systems to make sure they’re up to date with standards, and for the client’s satisfaction.

Truck and Bus Mechanics

Truck and bus mechanics adjust, fix, or replace parts of commercial transport systems, including fuel, hydraulic, electrical, and electronic systems.

Mechanical Repairers

Mechanical repairers test parts and functions within units, such as transmissions and engines. They need to problem solve and figure out when/how to fix or replace these parts. They must also record these problems in reports.

Education Needed and Wages

People within these fields earn an average of $52,140 yearly, with wages ranging from $16–38 an hour. They often work 35–40 hours a week, usually in repair shops or garages. They need good customer service skills and know how to problem solve.

Anyone looking into these fields needs a high school diploma, and a driver’s license, with some needed specific classes of licenses. Those looking for certification need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program.

Mechanical and automotive services need certification in the near feature, under BC’s new “Skilled Trades Certification.” Jobs such as automotive service technician are in “phase 2” of this new plan, which starts in 2024.

Construction Trade Helpers and Labourers 

Construction trade helpers and labourers help set up and clean construction sites. These people work anywhere that construction sites appear; this includes jobs on the road, within buildings, within tunnels, and around pipelines.

Working hours vary, but sometimes workdays can be 10–12 hours. Since they often lift heavy materials, workers also need strength.

Education Needed and Wages

People within this field earn an average of $41,712 yearly, with wages ranging from $15.20–$30.00 an hour. Many construction companies require employees to have a high school diploma and a driver’s license.

Depending on the specific role, more requirements are needed. For example, pipeline workers need one season of experience in oil and gas pipeline construction.

Certification in BC

For many years, BC lacked mandatory trades certification for workers. However, the Government of British Columbia decided to make it mandatory in 2021. They started with electrical and mechanical trades, which began transitioning in December 2022.

Students can use these resources to find certification information and job training:

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