What is a skilled Trade?
Skilled trades are occupations that need a special skill, knowledge or ability which can be obtained at a technical school, college, or through specialized training. Skilled trades provide an alternative to jobs that require four years of education at college. While skilled trades can be separated into many areas such as manufacturing, energy, technology, and healthcare, they are generally divided into the following three categories:
1. Skilled Industrial Trades: welders, mechanics, machinists, tool and die makers, programmers
2. Skilled Construction Trades: plumbers, electricians, gasfitters, carpenters, technicians, bricklayers, insulators
3. Skilled Service Trades: nurses, orderlies, aides, therapists, service technicians.
Current Demand Within Skilled Trades
Are you planning your career path? Or thinking about a career change?
Skilled trades are essential to the economy but yet these jobs are often overlooked by those entering the workforce or seeking a different vocation.
This may be because most people believe that a college or university education is necessary in order to obtain a stable career.
While having an undergraduate, master’s degree, doctorate or college degree can open the doors to some amazing career opportunities, they are not necessary to make a good living.
A skilled trade career can offer the same benefits as a white-collar profession – good pay, endless job opportunities, job security, etc.
The difference is that you don’t need to pay an exuberant amount of money to achieve an education in the skilled trades.
In fact, many companies will hire individuals for entry-level positions and offer on-the-job training.
So if you’re thinking about your future – or ready to make an occupational change, following are 5 reasons why you should consider a career in the skilled trades:
1. There is a Huge Demand
Employers are increasingly looking to hire skilled tradespeople so there is no shortage of jobs in this field.
With the baby boomer generation heading into retirement, more opportunities exist for younger generations to secure jobs and careers in skilled trades.
And companies are desperate to fill these positions!
Because many high schools in North America have cut vocational training from their curriculum, there are fewer young people entering into the field of skilled trades.
Companies need skilled tradespeople not only to start new projects but to also perform maintenance and repair duties for their diverse client base.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has certainly proven that – while many businesses were forced to close their doors, industries that employ skilled trade workers remained valuable during this time and continue to require more workers to meet demands.
Fortunately, those demands will always be there and companies will require tradespeople to fulfill them.
2. You Can Get Paid to Learn
For most trade jobs, apprentices can earn as they learn. The required number of training periods, which involves about 85% work and 15% learning, varies from trade to trade but most only take 2 to 5 years to complete.
Apprentices are paid for their work throughout training and earn a percentage of a journeyperson’s salary.
As for upfront costs involved in training, there are government grants, loans and deductions that can help offset the costs.
Keep in mind that these costs are notably lower than attending a traditional university.
That, coupled with the fact that training in certain trades can be completed in two years, makes attaining an education and experience in a skilled trade infinitely easier.
3. Skilled Trades Accommodate a Wide Range of Skillsets
With the wide variety of technologies revolutionizing skilled trades, these types of jobs no longer focus only on physical capabilities.
This means that not all skilled trades jobs involve heavy lifting. You may be able to start a career in project management or find yourself operating heavy equipment.
The digitization of trades has especially created a demand for new skill sets, widening the appeal of trade work and creating new career and training pathways.
More individuals can benefit from careers in skilled trades without having to worry about if they measure up physically.
4. Opportunities for Advancement
Because jobs in skilled trades value a wide range of skillsets and offer on-the-job training, there is room to move up within organizations.
Skilled trades careers offer a variety of options when it comes to pursuing a path that fits your interest.
Because of opportunities such as apprenticeship training, additional certification courses and other professional development activities, there is a higher probability of advancement.
Not only that, but many individuals forego advancing within a company and start their own business in their field.
5. High Job Security
Lower unemployment rates in skilled trades mean greater job security in these types of jobs.
While no job is resistant to recession, many trade sectors maintain job security by diversifying their client-base and advancing their technology.
Even during economic downturns, the trades remain a resilient career choice. Even when new construction and remodeling jobs are put on hold, existing buildings and projects still require maintenance the need for skilled tradespeople.
Trade Careers are a Viable Option in the Professional World
Trade careers can provide you with practical and useful skills while incurring less student loan debt as you earn experience and education.
That, plus the fact that trades jobs are in high demand, make a career in the trades a great choice.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the trade industry, consider checking out online job boards or speaking with a career counselor in your area.