Working in the Trades


Each and every year high school students approaching grade 12 are pondering that same question…what will I do with the rest of my life?  For some, the answer will take them on a journey through post-secondary education at a college or university to the many occupations that require additional education.   Others however will struggle to determine exactly what they want to do…often because they didn’t have exposure to classes in the many skilled trades.

Without a doubt education is commendable in every respect and can open many doors and opportunities. It is, however, vital to remember that not everyone is destined for a job in the fields of technology, finance, law, or health care…to name but a few and that not all learning is done in the classroom or lecture hall. Simply put…the world is filled with people who have unique capabilities, and an often overlooked employment option is the area of the skill trades.  

There are many factors to consider when you are trying to determine your future occupation.  Here are a few thoughts that you may want to ponder with regard to skilled trades in the construction industry. 

  • Not all jobs have a measurable daily self-satisfaction rate that can compete with carpentry. Each day you are able to see your accomplishments—the fruits of your labour or the progress you have made on a project.  And while there may be times when the work in a particular field is less attractive (for argument sake let’s call it dirty) there is very little time to become disengaged. Sometimes the extra effort you make to get through those challenging tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible, will give you the most satisfaction. Let’s be honest; all jobs regardless have a component enjoyed less than another.
  • Construction or other trades allows you to work with your hands, and while people take on hobbies for just that reason, construction can enable you to have that option every day and get paid for it.  If you are passionate about creating, building, and working with your hands, you should consider a trade.  The trades can provide potential for a long-lasting career in a field that you love.  On the lighter side…it can also offer the benefits of being at the gym, while not having to pay for a membership. 
  • Oftentimes people fail to see the potential and room for growth in a skilled trades career.  Perhaps, you might even become an entrepreneur.  Being in the trades certainly does not limit your ability to achieve success! When you have mastered your trade and determined whether or not you have a propensity for business and the personal growth required, opportunities could abound.
  • Depending on your position, it can often give you better balance in your life as the trades tend to be day jobs, with free evenings and weekends.  While there may be opportunities for over-time and certain divisions of some trades may require on-call hours (electricians and plumbers), for the most part these jobs allow you to have time for life itself!   Besides that, overtime and on-call hours can be a lucrative opportunity!


There has been a shortage of workers in many of the trades which gives eager and capable apprentices an opportunity of a life time.  A chance at better job security in a time when that is difficult to find and a way to achieve self-satisfaction in a job well done. 

Perhaps, the reason so many are not considering the trades is that they don’t know what that term refers to.  Construction trades include, but are not limited to: electricians, plumbers, general carpenters, metal workers, welders, roofers, framers, tilesetters, floor covering installers, cabinet makers, drywallers/interior finishers, concrete finishers, crane and/or heavy equipment operators, exterior finishers, painters, plasterers, etc.

If you have interest in one of the many skilled trade fields, please take the time to explore the opportunities in your area--it may be exactly what you (and your future employer) are looking for. For more information perhaps talk to a student guidance councillor, the employment centre in your area, the College of Trades, or even a local Association for your trade of interest.   We wish you the best with your future career endeavors.