MRO Magazine

Workforce has to get younger


July 13, 2007
By PEM Magazine
PEM magazine continues to encourage industry to use young workers and create apprenticeship positions. With older workers set to retire, a shortage of skilled tradespersons will hit companies hard. Lots of heavy lifting still has to be done by key stakeholders.

A good example is the recent “Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Awareness and Perception Study,” which was commissioned by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum-Forum canadien surl’apprentissage (CAF-FCA) and Skills / Compètences Canada (S/CC).

Study findings show careers in skilled trades continue to take a back seat to those that require a university education in the minds of most educators, parents and particularly youth.At the end of the day, young people aren’t turned on by a career in skilled trades.

The study reveals that less than one third of youth (32 percent) aged 13 to 17 say they would likely consider a career in skilled trades, and less than a quarter (22 percent) of them, have actually considered this option in the past year.


Additionally, the study reveals that a university education is the preferred educational option over college or apprenticeships in skilled trades for a majority of youth (58 percent), parents (53 percent) and educators (64 percent). Only 19 percent of youth say pursing an apprenticeship or trades program is their preferred choice.

The study, based on research conducted by Ipsos-Reid Canada, shows many traditional stereotypes around gender and academic performance continue to hold when parents and youth think of skilled tradespersons. For example, 29 percent of youth say skilled trades are more suited to men, and 58 percent say they involve hardphysical work.

Additionally, only 41 percent of youth say tradespersons are respected in society, and only 45 percent say they would be proud to work in skilled trades. The status quo can’t remain. In the next PEM issue, we’ll profile women working in maintenance. I’m sure their success stories will change negative attitudes. It all helps.

Robert Robertson, Editor
PEMAC Allied Member