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What are Skilled Trades?

When people think of skilled trades, there are many traditional trades that likely come to mind – electrician, plumber, welder, and carpenter, for example.  The reality is that there are more than 150 designated trades in Canada.  Generally, these trades fall under four sectors:

 

What are Red Seal Trades?

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program was established to provide greater mobility for skilled workers across Canada. The Red Seal program allows qualified trades people to practice their trade anywhere in Canada where the trade is designated without having to write further examinations.

In 2009, 81% of all active apprentices were working in one of 55 Red Seal trades.

Why consider a career in skilled trades?

The data is in!  Canadian Apprenticeship Forum research shows that skilled trades workers fare better than their counterparts when it comes to wages, job security, and employment satisfaction.

 

Apprentices also have:

Respect

Skilled trades play an important role in our economy and our society.  Think about it-skilled trades workers touch almost every aspect of our daily lives. They build and maintain the homes we live in and the cars we drive.  They work in manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, hospitality and tourism.  They build and maintain the electrical systems that power our computers and heat our houses.  Canada depends on the work of skilled tradespeople in so many ways.

Opportunity

With hundreds of skilled trades careers to choose from, there are opportunities available to suit almost any interest.  As an apprentice, you participate in a very unique post-secondary education.  By combining on-the-job training and in-school learning, apprentices get the best of both worlds – certification that comes with real world experience, providing them the skills to work virtually anywhere.

Skilled tradespeople are in demand and, as the baby-boom generation retires, that demand is only going to increase.   Shortages of skilled trades workers are being reported across sectors and across Canada, and the competition to attract talent is growing.

People in skilled trades are rewarded for their efforts.  According to Statistics Canada, the wage gap between workers with Bachelor Degrees and Trade Certificates is declining.  Between 2000 and 2011, the average weekly wages of full-time workers aged 25 to 34 with Trade Certificates grew by 14%, while Bachelor Degree holders saw their wage growth slow to 1%.