As a significant number of today’s skilled trades workers are preparing for retirement, there is a push to encourage high school students to replace them in their various fields.
Last week, a Skills Ready trades forum, held at Summerland Secondary School, brought together students and employers to discuss the opportunities available for those who go into trades work.
This is part of a trend over the past couple of decades, placing a growing emphasis on skilled trades education at the high school level and encouraging young people to consider a career in the trades.
The emphasis on trades work makes sense.
There are good career opportunities for those who train for a trade, and these opportunities also include good wages.
Employers today are in need of people to fill staff vacancies for skilled workers, and in some cases, finding a qualified employee can be a difficult undertaking.
Last week’s forum and the growing emphasis on skilled trades represents a shift from just a few decades ago when there was a strong emphasis on academics and university training.
Societal attitudes have also shifted and today skilled work is viewed with a degree of respect that was sometimes lacking in the past.
However, it is important to see any course of training as one of many options for students.
There is a need for trades workers.
There is also a need for people in professional fields such as medicine, pharmacy, accounting and education.
There is a need for technology developers, artisans and entrepreneurs.
And there is a need for people to fill many other roles.
This means high school students and recent graduates have a broad spectrum of opportunities open to them today.
If these options are presented, today’s students will be able to find the career paths that are right for them.