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93% of teachers encourage students to consider skilled trades


Ottawa – With 91% of educators convinced skilled tradespeople will always be in demand, there is a strong case for connecting students to hands-on activities and accurate employment data, suggests a report released by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA).

In a survey of 715 teachers across Canada, 93% say they are encouraging students to consider careers in the skilled trades. Only 13% of parents and 18% of youth agree, highlighting gaps among the three groups when it comes to awareness of career pathways after high school. The three groups agree, however, when it comes to belief that the skilled trades involve hard physical labour, something that new technologies mitigate in many trades.

According to Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF-FCA’s executive director, this belief may be causing a disconnect when it comes to developing the right skills for success in the trades. “Many trades rely on strong math and science skills. More than ever before, tradespeople are using technology to address the physical nature of their jobs. Parent and educator perceptions about the trades may be misdirecting youth when it comes to the right skills for success in the trades,” she said.

The educator perceptions report is the third of three national surveys since 2013 to measure perceptions about careers in the skilled trades among youth, parents and educators. Understanding educator views is important as they have an impact on student aspirations, educational goals and career choices — either challenging or reinforcing negative stereotypes about the skilled trades.

Of the three groups, educators are the most positive in their perceptions of tradespeople, claiming to understand apprenticeship and the benefits of skilled trades careers. Yet, educators think there’s room for more field trips and hands-on opportunities, better-equipped trades classrooms and more integration of skilled trades content in high school curricula.

Watts-Rynard notes, “This tells us educators are thirsty to pass along insights to their students, particularly when it comes to connecting class work to employment opportunities. Empowering educators to give timely and relevant advice to their students will make a big difference to how young people feel about a future in the skilled trades.”

Educator Perceptions of Careers in Skilled Trades is available to members of CAF-FCA at caf-fca.org.


Bill Roebuck

Bill Roebuck

Bill Roebuck is the Editor and Associate Publisher of Machinery & Equipment MRO magazine and mromagazine.com.


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1 Comment » for 93% of teachers encourage students to consider skilled trades
  1. E Guilbeault says:

    It’s good for a kid to go to school for skilled trades, but it’s quite a challenge for the kid to get a job. I know my own kid was in that spot. He was getting bumped out because he had calls or emails for job and when they found out he had no papers (he was asking for an apprenticeship), they would turn him down. You should see the kid’s face at the end. He gets so down it’s not funny. Even the company I work for would take him — we need guys — but their mentality is so negative. Its not like they don’t know him. He worked for the company for two years and they gave him a good recommendation but still wouldn’t hire him [as an apprentice]. So its pretty hard to tell a kid go to school and that he is going to have a good job.

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