The skilled trades shortage is looming.

In a report prepared by Maxim Jean-Louis of Contact Nord, entitled An Apprenticeship Skills Agenda-Executive Summary, it was noted that “40% of the jobs which will be created in Canada over the coming decade will be skilled trades positions. Just in construction, the forecast for the next decade is that there will be some 86,100 retirements and over 80,000 new recruits needed by 2026 to sustain the sector.”

Three main hurtles for attracting new talent in the trades were identified in the report: the first is reputational. “The trades do not appear to be appealing to those aged 13-24,” states the report.

Simeon Devries, foreman for D.C. Taping Inc. a drywall finishing company in Durham, agrees, “When I put out an advertisement for an apprentice drywall finisher, I receive very few applications; where as, office positions have a lot of applications…and entry office work does not pay as well.”

Like many young people who are in the trades, Simeon was “born into the trades” with his father teaching him at a young age. “I tried other jobs, but always ended up coming back to the trades because it is good hours and good money,” said Simeon.

The second issue listed in the report, is Skills and Qualifications, with more complex demands for multi-skilled and multi-layered tradespersons, a combination of skills is needed to master the “ability to work in partnership with existing and emerging technologies.”

“Although we are a specific trade, understanding of all trades and how everything works together is very important,” said Simeon. “It is also very helpful when we find a multi-talented worker; it helps out in so many circumstances.”

And thirdly, closely related is continuous development as “technologies change, materials change and new skills are required, a skilled tradesperson needs to continually update and develop their skills and abilities.”

“I am continually increasing my building knowledge and am open to studying new products, techniques and regulations. That’s why we are a member of the Durham Region Home Building Association, to stay informed and updated on policy, products and housing issues,” said Simeon. He is also a big fan of podcasts which he listens to when sanding out a house. “My favourite pod casts topics are housing and health. I do everything I can to promote health to our employees. We have a gym in one of our garages that any employee is allowed to use at anytime. I also talk with them about all the healthy diet and lifestyle information I listen too, and I live a very healthy lifestyle myself.”

At an event held Monday June 26 at the Toronto Board of Trade, the report was dissected by a panel of business and education leaders. At the end of the panel discussion the Honourable Deborah Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development said she has a mandate to “develop a modernized apprenticeship system”.

“This is a really important report,” said Matthews. “We need to ensure there are no jobs without people, and no people without jobs.”

Consultations on the apprenticeship system will be ongoing throughout the summer.

Republished with permission from Post Media

Author: Anita De Vries



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