Myths About the Skilled Trades as a Career Option in Ontario

There are many career options to choose from when you think about continuing education. The skilled trades career path is often overlooked because of the misunderstandings surrounding it.

These are some common myths about skilled trades as a career choice.

Myth #1

Skilled Trades = Construction Workers, Plumbers and Electricians

When you think of a skilled trade you might  think of the more traditional trades, like carpentry or plumbing (physically demanding jobs where you get your hands dirty). But just as other jobs have evolved over time, so have the trades. You may not think of baking or cooking as being skilled trades, yet many of us enjoy watching cooking shows and baking competitions with people who have become famous by excelling in their skilled trade.

Bakers, child youth workers and events coordinators are all skilled trades workers. Skilled trades go well beyond the traditional roles that come to mind. In fact, to date there are hundreds of careers in the skilled trades.

Myth #2

Skilled Trades are for Students who don’t do Well in School

Not true. Securing an apprenticeship means you are working towards a post-secondary education. The difference between an apprenticeship and a post-secondary education is you can earn money while you learn, so you lower your chances of accumulating debt. You could have more options for available work because skilled trades are highly in demand in Canada.

More and more trade workers require the use of sophisticated computer software alongside mechanical equipment in order to perform their jobs. And a lot of Canadians 18 and over do not have the essential skills needed to work in the trades. In addition, technology and new techniques are changing the nature of many trades.

Myth #3

Skilled Trades are a Job, not a Career

Skilled trades offer long-term sustainable careers with opportunities to advance to managerial positions, teaching, and self-employment.  Today’s technology allows for outdoor infrastructure projects to continue throughout the winter, so being laid off during the winter months is less a concern. 

It is estimated that if you complete your apprenticeship you can earn between 5 to $50 an hour; that’s well above minimum wage and in some cases more than some university graduates make. A trades person with a Red Seal Endorsement, Canada’s standard of excellence for skilled trades, is able to work anywhere in Canada.

How do I get started with a Career in the Skilled Trades?

Some key skills required in the trades include:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematical and analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • An aptitude for visualizing the end-product
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Coordination and dexterity
  • Proficiency with tools and computers
Produced by: VPI Working Solutions

For More Information

  • Careers in the Trades - These events from VPI Working Solutions taking place across Ontario between March 4-8 will help you network with employers in the trades. Learn about apprenticeships and find employment opportunities by registering at the event near you.

Last updated: January 4, 2024 4006362