Many Canadians lack practical, everyday skills
By Anthony Capkun
May 1, 2012 – Skills/Compétences Canada (S/CC)—a national, not-for-profit organization that promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies—released the findings of a survey conducted by Harris/Decima that shows many Canadians have little to no working knowledge of those everyday activities that require a skilled hand. For example:
• Almost half of Canadians (46%) admit they don’t know how to install a bathroom or kitchen faucet.
• About one in three Canadians (31%) aren’t sure how to install a light fixture. (Call an electrical contractor — Ed.)
• About a quarter of Canadians (28%) don’t know how to change a flat tire; almost half of all women (48%) say they cannot.
• 1 in 10 Canadians (14%) have no idea how to turn off the water main in their home.
“There’s a serious underlying message here that many Canadians are lacking basic, practical knowledge when it comes to completing everyday skills, admitting they require help,” said Shaun Thorson, CEO, Skills/Compétences Canada. “Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of the Canadian economy contributing over 50% of Canada’s GDP. But the growing shortage of skilled trade workers is not only a concern for industry; it is only a matter of time before every Canadian will feel the impact in their everyday lives.”
This month, Skills/Compétences Canada is hosting the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition, an Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices. From May 13-16, more than 500 young students and apprentices will gather in Edmonton to compete in over 40 skilled trade and technology areas. The annual event attracts school groups and young career-seekers who can take part in interactive Try-a-Trade and Technology demonstrations, as well as employers and recruiters, industry associations, labour groups, training institutes and government partners.
The competition provides an opportunity for young Canadians studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested against exacting industry standards and their peers from across the nation, with hope of being crowned the best in their chosen discipline. This year, competitors are also vying for placement on Team Canada where they will participate in the 2013 WorldSkills International Competition in Leipzig, Germany.