The “trades” a great career choice!

It used to be that if someone didn’t want to attend university, it was suggested they “do something with their hands.” Thank heavens that is no longer the case. In fact, having some “trades” in my own family, I would have to say there is a lot more to working in the trades than working with ones hands — particularly given the many uses of computer technology today and the fact that most are entrepreneurs and self-employed business people.

In fact, I would go so far as to say those in the trades are “salt of the earth” people. They work very long hours and without the cushy benefits enjoyed by many in the social sectors like teaching and accounting. And, when they take vacation time, they are not paid.  The bottom line is that we simply cannot manage without them — particularly when we need them in an emergency.

Well, it seems Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal Conservative government agrees with that view as well. Yesterday, for example, the PM participated in the Sarnia Construction Association’s 41st Annual Construction Apprentice Graduation. A total of 100 graduates were on hand to hear the prime minister say:

You’ve made a great career choice. In the coming years Canada is going to need hundreds of thousands of skilled tradesmen and women. Without skilled trades people, you can’t build the factories, plants, schools, housing and other infrastructures we need to keep our economy growing and our country strong.”

And, the Conservative government has invested in the trades. For example, as the PM’s media announcement states:

Since taking office the Government has undertaken several initiatives to support trades apprenticeship programs. They include: The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, which provides $1000 per year to help apprentices pay for education and training during the first two years of an apprenticship program.”

There is also an Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit — which provides employers with a tax credit of $2000 per apprentice for each of the first two years of their contract. Moreover, there is a “tools deduction” worth up to $500 of the cost of their tools.

So, to any young people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives, look at one of the many trades available because they are a great career choice.  No matter which trade — carpenters, drywallers, framers, siders, brick layers, welders, pipefitters, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics and collision repair and others — all are the backbone of our economy.

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16 thoughts on “The “trades” a great career choice!

  1. The right thing to do, learn a trade and you can stand on your own two feet no matter what happens. This is a good investment, the tar sands could not be built without skilled labour. I went back to school in my 20’s and have never looked back. I raised a family and can look to a comfortable retirement, in my own home.
    Bubba the hard working boilermaker

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  2. The right thing to do, learn a trade and you can stand on your own two feet no matter what happens. This is a good investment, the tar sands could not be built without skilled labour. I went back to school in my 20’s and have never looked back. I raised a family and can look to a comfortable retirement, in my own home.
    Bubba the hard working boilermaker

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  3. Bubba Brown — Agree. My son-in-law is a finish carpenter and one of the best. And, now his son, our grandson, is going into that work as well. And our fairly new grandson-in-law is a third generation brick layer. His family’s company has been around for decades. I’m very proud of them all and, as you say, they can all stand on their own two feet, no matter what happens.

    It’s not that I am againt higher education — both my husband and I have three graduate degrees between us. But, I think it is long past time we give credit where credit is due and forget the “blue collar” verus “pink” or “white collar” labels. That’s just not appropriate anymore.

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  4. Bubba Brown — Agree. My son-in-law is a finish carpenter and one of the best. And, now his son, our grandson, is going into that work as well. And our fairly new grandson-in-law is a third generation brick layer. His family’s company has been around for decades. I’m very proud of them all and, as you say, they can all stand on their own two feet, no matter what happens.

    It’s not that I am againt higher education — both my husband and I have three graduate degrees between us. But, I think it is long past time we give credit where credit is due and forget the “blue collar” verus “pink” or “white collar” labels. That’s just not appropriate anymore.

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  5. But, I think it is long past time we give credit where credit is due and forget the “blue collar” verus “pink” or “white collar” labels. That’s just not appropriate anymore.

    Bingo! Trades and professions need each other. It’s a symbiotic relationship and neither is more important than the other.

    As an engineer I hear a lot of, “stupid trades people, can’t think for themselves,” and, “stupid engineers, wouldn’t know their arse from a hole in the ground.” This is not productive.

    The big projects in the tar sands, for example, wouldn’t get built if it wasn’t for the guys on the tools building what the engineers put on paper. And they wouldn’t get built if the engineers didn’t put something on paper for the guys on the tools to build.

    When we work together and respect each other’s contribution some pretty damn amazing things get accomplished.

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  6. But, I think it is long past time we give credit where credit is due and forget the “blue collar” verus “pink” or “white collar” labels. That’s just not appropriate anymore.

    Bingo! Trades and professions need each other. It’s a symbiotic relationship and neither is more important than the other.

    As an engineer I hear a lot of, “stupid trades people, can’t think for themselves,” and, “stupid engineers, wouldn’t know their arse from a hole in the ground.” This is not productive.

    The big projects in the tar sands, for example, wouldn’t get built if it wasn’t for the guys on the tools building what the engineers put on paper. And they wouldn’t get built if the engineers didn’t put something on paper for the guys on the tools to build.

    When we work together and respect each other’s contribution some pretty damn amazing things get accomplished.

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  7. Auto mechanic is no longer the term, we prefer technician. Your average new vehicle has more computing power than ever went to the moon on a Apollo mission. So much of what we do nowadays is diagnostic…not turning bolts.

    If someone called me a greasemonkey, I would slap them. 😉

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  8. Auto mechanic is no longer the term, we prefer technician. Your average new vehicle has more computing power than ever went to the moon on a Apollo mission. So much of what we do nowadays is diagnostic…not turning bolts.

    If someone called me a greasemonkey, I would slap them. 😉

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  9. Jim — You are also a mechanic in that you need an awareness of all things mechanical. When I was in private practice and used to do educational and vocational testing, people who went into your particular trade had to have what we called “mechanical intelligence.”

    When you do diagnosis, the computer only says so much. The guy or gal doing it has to make a judgmental call as well. So, in essence you are an auto mechanic technician.

    But, your right, old labels just don’t fit anymore.

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  10. Jim — You are also a mechanic in that you need an awareness of all things mechanical. When I was in private practice and used to do educational and vocational testing, people who went into your particular trade had to have what we called “mechanical intelligence.”

    When you do diagnosis, the computer only says so much. The guy or gal doing it has to make a judgmental call as well. So, in essence you are an auto mechanic technician.

    But, your right, old labels just don’t fit anymore.

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  11. Went to a graduation last week and not one person was going for a degree of any kind. Trades won hands down.
    In my family there is a finish carpenter, kitchen designer-decorator, gas fitter/plumber, cement worker/putting in basements,CA and a RN, publisher-photographer. Now if they didn’t all want to be boss we could have quite a company, with me of course being CEO.

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  12. Went to a graduation last week and not one person was going for a degree of any kind. Trades won hands down.
    In my family there is a finish carpenter, kitchen designer-decorator, gas fitter/plumber, cement worker/putting in basements,CA and a RN, publisher-photographer. Now if they didn’t all want to be boss we could have quite a company, with me of course being CEO.

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  13. One thing about the “trades” that should be made known to all kids… us tradespeople usually make lots more money than most people. I’m a hardrock miner. That’s a “skilled trade” all by itself. I’m also a fitter/welder. Last year I turned down a job offer from a plant in Ontario. Lead hand bossing 10 people, $60,000 a year. I told them I wasn’t interested in taking such a drastic pay cut… janitors where I work make more than that and have full benefits.

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  14. One thing about the “trades” that should be made known to all kids… us tradespeople usually make lots more money than most people. I’m a hardrock miner. That’s a “skilled trade” all by itself. I’m also a fitter/welder. Last year I turned down a job offer from a plant in Ontario. Lead hand bossing 10 people, $60,000 a year. I told them I wasn’t interested in taking such a drastic pay cut… janitors where I work make more than that and have full benefits.

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  15. But if you want to go to university, study geology and engineering. There is such a shortage of mining engineers. Biology is another promising field with the explosion of knowledge about genes.

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  16. But if you want to go to university, study geology and engineering. There is such a shortage of mining engineers. Biology is another promising field with the explosion of knowledge about genes.

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