Ontario is in the midst of a skilled trades crisis. Skilled workers are retiring at a rate far faster than young people are getting into the trades. This has resulted in a significant shortage of skilled workers.
According to the Toronto Sun, currently there's a shortage of approximately 22,000 skilled workers in construction alone. When we zoom out and consider the shortage of skilled workers in all of the skilled trades in Ontario that number is closer to 200,000 and growing daily.
How did we get into this predicament? Well, there's a few reasons. One, recruiters that go into high schools tend to be from universities, not the skilled trades, so teenagers become more likely to take the university route. Two, there's a certain stigma perpetuated by media that goes along with attending a trades school or college rather than university. Three, skilled trades aren't seen as lucrative and lastly, four, skilled workers are retiring on mass.
The Ontario Labour Minister, Monte McNaughton, wants to combat university recruiters, remove the stigma and educate teenagers and kids on the benefits of becoming a skilled trades worker.
While speaking to the Toronto Sun, McNaughton said that he would send dozens of skilled trades recruiters into high schools across Ontario to compete against university recruiters. This would help put the skilled trades in the forefront of young people's minds and hopefully impact their decision when choosing their path for post secondary education.
McNaughton also noted that the trades were both varied and monetarily worthwhile.
"There's 144 different trades to choose from," said McNaughton. "Individuals can make a six figures salary, earn a pension, get benefits, and in many cases, be there own boss." Clearly, the skilled trades can offer extremely lucrative careers!
The stigma surrounding the skilled trades is something that will have to be addressed at a societal level. Too often the media portrays those who work "blue collar" jobs as less than or uses them as the punch lines to jokes, plumber's crack anyone? This negative portrayal towards the skilled trades industry as a whole, appears to have affected young people's attitudes for some time. This can be seen in the average age of those in higher ranking positions. In fact, according to the Toronto Sun, 1 in 3 journeypersons is over the age of 55!
Here at DC Automotive Tooling Inc., the majority of our staff are skilled trades workers. We take on apprentices, specializing in tool & mold, who will often come from trade schools or local colleges such as St. Clair College. We focus on providing our apprentices a holistic approach to the trade because we believe it is important to be well rounded in every aspect of tooling and machining.
The skilled trades are something that ought to be aspired to. With the supply of skilled trades workers so low, and the demand for them so high, now is the perfect time to get into them! You will learn a lifelong skill, receive a very competitive wage and the period between learning and earning in your field tends to be shorter than that of a university grad, The skilled trades are the new way to a comfortable life!