Our over-educated and under-employed workforce would do well to consider what the son of business friend chose for a career. At a time when parents and educators are force-feeding young people a steady diet of university fare, our friend’s son chose to become a plumber. He’s been fully-employed in this line of work for more than ten years now, progressing through a four-year apprenticeship that included college courses, job training and practical experience. He’s now a Project Manager for a mechanical contractor, responsible for overseeing and managing the work performed by others.
We’ve been hearing for years about shortages in skilled trades. It was a constant concern when I worked for EllisDon and time hasn’t improved the situation. Anyone who chooses to become a plumber, electrician, carpenter, mechanic, bricklayer, painter, drywaller or other skilled trades person can be assured of full-time work for the rest of his or her life regardless of where they live. These jobs are important in the world of business and are not limited to large urban centres. Skilled workers can work full-time wherever they live, in small communities or large cities. Their skills are always in demand and in short supply.
One of the major benefits of employment in the skilled trades is financial. Just consider what you have to pay a plumber to visit your home to replace the seal on your toilet, a painter to redecorate your main floor or an electrician to install a new ceiling fixture in your diningroom. And we’ve all had heart-stopping bills from the mechanic who maintains our vehicle.
Isn’t it time we stopped funneling everyone into university and directed them instead to the many options available in skilled fields? Consider the benefits:
- Full employment, either with an established firm or self-employment.
- Mobility, whether the individual prefers small-town life or life in the city, across the country.
- Financial security. Hourly rates are lucrative and if unionized, benefits are plentiful.
- Flexibility in working hours.
- Flexibility in type of work, whether you want to work indoors or outdoors, on commercial or residential, on production or custom projects.
- You’ll be everyone’s friend. We’d all love to have a plumber, electrician, carpenter or mechanic in our circle.
- Mate bait. Having a skilled trades person as a partner makes for a happier home life.
- Growth potential. Whether working for someone else or self-employed, opportunities are abundant for bright, ambitious individuals to advance their careers into supervisory, administrative or entrepreneurial positions.
Ask your under-employed friends and relatives to give it some thought. And skilled work isn’t limited to the construction trades. Wouldn’t it be great to have a baker, a hairdresser, chef or telecommunications person in the family? The benefits are undeniable and last a lifetime.