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It isn't a secret that high school students need a little guidance when it comes to makig decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Not many young people know with 100% certainty what it is they want to do "when they grow up" and choosing the best route after high school can be an intimidating decision. They rely on teachers, parents and their peers to help make that decision-making process easier, but what if they aren't getting all the facts?
Recently, the Canadian Apprenticehip Forum (CAF) released a report that states that 91 percent of educators know that skilled trades workers are always needed and therefore recognize the importance of connecting students with activities and data to properly inform them of the options available. On top of that, the survey revealed that 93 percent of teachers across the country are now encouraging students to consider a career in the skilled trades.
The truth about the skilled trades
Although there is growing and overwheming support from teachers, only 13 percent of parents and 18 percent of youth agree with the importance of considering jobs in the skilled trades — a significant gap. In fact, the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that skilled trades jobs involve physical labour, which can cause a disconnect when it comes to develping the right skills for a successful career in the trades.
These kinds of misconceptions can lead students down the wrong path as they prepare for careers in the trades. In fact, students who excel in math and science would be very successful in using the technology involved in trades on top of the physical aspect of the jobs.
Making an effort
Teachers have also recognized that there is room for improvement when it comes to showing students what the skilled trades are all about. By taking more field trips, offering hands-on opportunities and offering equipped trades classrooms to bring more skilled trades content into the curriculum, teachers know they can showcase the trades more effectively. We have already seen school boards making an effort to show students what jobs in the skilled trades are like.
As educators become more involved in connecting their students' classroom experiences to employment opportunities, parents should learn from them too. Giving young people timely, relevant and informed advice will make a big difference as to how they consider a future in the skilled trades.