5 Reasons to Consider a Career in the Trades

By Vancouver Island University Modified on February 19, 2020

From hundreds of job openings to high earning potential, there are lots of reasons to choose the skilled trades.

A skilled tradesperson works on a construction site thanks to the career training received at Vancouver Island University.

Are you wondering if a career in the trades is right for you? Working with your hands, tools and big machines can pay off in a big way, and starting your career in the trades can sometimes take less than a year of post-secondary training.

Nearly half of the almost 71,000 job openings predicted for British Columbia over the next decade will be in the trades and technology fields. As technology advances, most of those careers in trades will require training by a certified institution such as Vancouver Island University.

Here are five good reasons why you should consider a career in the trades:

There are hundreds of jobs to choose from

When people think about trades careers, occupations like carpenter, heavy equipment operator, electrician, and mechanical technician immediately come to mind. But in reality, there are more than 300 designated trades in Canada.

The demand and training programs differ across the country. In BC there are almost 100 different careers to choose from in a variety of fields, including aircraft technicians, landscapers, crane operators, mechanics, welders, hairstylists, bakers, and much more. For some insight into the numerous different jobs that are out there, check out Trades Training BC's A - Z listing of trades programs.

Start your training and earning while you're in high school

You can start building your future in the trades before you're even out of high school, and earn over the minimum wage as an apprentice. Many post-secondary institutions create opportunities for youth to learn from skilled instructors, and earn credits that count towards high school diplomas and Level 1 technical trades training. ITA's Youth Train in Trades will help you find your opportunity to get a head start on your career.

Access grants to help you pay for school

A lot of financial supports are specifically tailored to BC's trades and apprenticeship programs. You could find help with paying tuition or finding apprenticeship funding thanks to the BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities, the Federal Government, and WorkBC.

Earn higher wages

The current minimum wage in BC is $13.85 an hour. It's scheduled to increase to $15.20 an hour by June 1, 2021. Compare that to what a skilled tradesperson can earn, with starting wages averaging around $16 an hour for an entry-level position in carpentry, up to $57 an hour for a power system electrician, according to the BC Labour Market Outlook: 2018 Edition (pdf).

Tailor your career to fit your lifestyle

With so many opportunities cropping up around the province for skilled tradespersons, it's possible to work flexible hours that fit with your personal or family commitments. Other opportunities include travelling to many locations around BC, if you wish, and opting for a physically active job outdoors instead of sitting in an office.

Skilled tradespeople have an exciting journey ahead of them. They are the workers constructing our future buildings, maintaining the infrastructure we need to live comfortable lives, and many are leading the way towards sustainable energy solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. To learn more, check out the Careers in Trades Guide (pdf) by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and set yourself up for a successful career.

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