What are jobs in the ‘trades’ and how can I apply for one?

Jobs in the trades require physical labour and often a very specialized skill.

Is a trade right for me?

If you’re the kind of person who’d rather be moving from place to place than sitting behind a desk; if you like to work with your hands, meet people, and see the results of what you’ve done at the end of the day; and if you’re looking for a job that pays well, the trades might be for you. 

What are jobs in the “trades”?

Trades jobs fall within four main categories:

  1. Construction – like electricians, carpenters and plumbers
  2. Transportation – like auto mechanics and airplane technicians
  3. Manufacturing – like industrial mechanics and metal fabricators
  4. Service – like chefs, florists and horticulturalists

They’re all jobs that require physical labour and some very specialized skills. They’re also all positions that play an important role in our economy and society.

How do I get into the trades?

Training for most trades is done in-school (through college programs). Following in-school training, you will likely go on to an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great way to gain job experience and to meet people in the industry, but that’s not all! Sometimes you even get paid to do an apprenticeship, so you can ‘earn while you learn.’

Are there many career opportunities in trades?

With over 200 careers to choose from, the trades sector offers something for just about everyone—and because people everywhere need electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics and other tradespeople, you can work almost anywhere in Canada. Not only that, but as the baby boom generation is retiring, the demand for tradespeople is going up. It’s estimated that there will be 913,000 job openings in the trades between 2003 and 2015!

Are there other reasons to go into a trade?

Tradespeople are well paid and unemployment in the sector tends to be lower than unemployment in general. There are also lots of opportunities to move up to higher paying positions with more responsibility in the trades, and many tradespeople even go on to open their own businesses.

Plus, there’s the fact that you’ll be able to feel good knowing that, every day at work, you’re making an important contribution to your community. After all, we all depend on people who work in the trades to keep our cars and buses running, our houses and public buildings in good repair and more!