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Trades work isn’t just grunt work, argues CAF

October 15, 2014 | By Anthony Capkun

October 15, 2014 – More than half of parents favour university as a post-secondary option, while one-in-four believes the trades are for weak students, according to a report released today by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF).

“Our research suggests parents need better information to pass along to their children… how to connect with an employer, courses to take in high school and a better sense of the career paths in the skilled trades,” said Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF executive director.

Skills shortages in the trades and a workforce nearing retirement are turning up the pressure to attract young people to careers in the skilled trades, says CAF yet, despite employment opportunities, good pay and a promising career path, the report suggests many parents and youth continue to view skilled trades careers as options of last resort.

CAF undertook a national survey with parents in the spring and compared results to findings from a parallel investigation in 2004. (The forum specifically targeted parents given their influence over post-secondary education and career choices).


Over the past decade, parents have been consistent in their generally positive view of tradespeople and careers in the skilled trades, notes CAF; 70% of parents said careers in the trades were the “same as” other professions, suggesting parents view skilled trades careers as equal to other jobs their children might pursue.

However, more than half said they believe the trades require hard physical labour, which suggests to CAF they aren’t aware that tradespeople require a strong background in math, science and technology.

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