When In Doubt Go Blue

Consider A Skilled Trade Career

When In Doubt Go Blue


By Thomas McKenzie Watt
Monster Contributing Writer

I’m a blue collar worker and I’m proud of it. Every day I wake at 5:00 am, suit up, get on site, scale a heritage building and begin a day of slate and copper roofing. I always have a big smile on my face. It wasn’t always like this though.
My road to the skilled trades was about as orthodox as a bent tree. I was raised in a society that made me believe that the only jobs worth it were the ones you had to wear a suit and tie for. I did the white collar jobs, but they just didn’t do it for me. So if you’re like me, and you’re looking for a career change, something exciting, fulfilling and different, I highly recommend you looking into taking up a trade.
But don’t take my word for it. There has been a noticeable push of late by the Canadian government to inform its citizens about the trades: the reason? There is a huge demand in the skilled trades and an even bigger shortage of workers, and you don’t have to be a math major to figure out what that means: major job opportunity. Years of stigmatization have led many people to ignore the blue collar sector, but in our topsy turvy economic climate, it’s a sector which is actually producing more jobs than ever and being a traditional one, fairly stable.
 In fact according to Statistic Canada’s latest employment figures, the construction industry had been cited as a primary impetus behind the four major job increases in the past five months. As well Job growth overall has been steadily climbing for the past two years even in a downturn. And there’s more good news, the government has anticipated this trend and set up a $4000 grant for apprentices to help them through their apprenticeships. If you’re interested in this unique program you can find out more information about this on their website

So what do they pay when you go blue? Salaries in the blue collar sector and the skilled trades are comparable with other professional sectors averaging at around $ 42,000 and topping out at six figures for more specialized trades and foreman or project manager positions. And of course once you know your trade and you decide to branch out as a general contractor or entrepreneur the sky is the limit for what you can earn. But it’s not just about the money.
People in the skilled trades report a higher than average job satisfaction, men and women. In fact a website detailing information about the skilled trades for British Columbia, reports that women gain a renewed source of confidence when they learn a trade and work in their chosen field. And according to Vancouver News 1130, BC is commited to invest $3.5 million to get more women in trades .
So what are the cons of working a blue collar job?
 It’s been said that the trades suffer from the three D’s: dirty, difficult and dangerous, and while this might have been true even 20 years ago, industry standards today are extremely safe and are becoming more eco-conscience every year. And while it’s true that they are more physically demanding than an office job, at least, you’re not stuck in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, plus you get to stay in shape without having to buy a pass for the gym.

Pick your battles.
For me, being the kind of free spirit adventurous type, finding a job in the trades has made all the difference. There is a real sense of satisfaction when I see my work done, out before my eyes each day.
And sometimes, high up on the scaffolding, bright and early in the morning, witnessing a killer sun rise piercing over the skyscrapers and distant hills, I think of myself, a little like a king, albeit a blue collar one.
A good place to get started: http://www.careersintrades.ca/ or call your local employment office for details on the skilled trades.

If it worked for me it can certainly work for you!

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