Myths about the skilled trades



What are you hearing about test driving a career in the skilled trades? There are a lot of myths about the apprenticeship pathway but you need to know the truth.

“The trades are for people who are uneducated and do not perform well academically. People end up in skilled trades because they have no other options.”

Certified tradespersons with their Red Seal train in the classroom and onsite for four years (same time frame as an undergraduate degree) and require a strong foundation of math, reading, and critical thinking skills. The ability to think and react on your feet is mandatory. Intelligence and aptitude are required for all positions in the skilled trades.

“Skilled trades jobs do not pay well.”

We are looking forward to economic growth in our province and with major natural resource and building projects ahead, we are expecting a significant skilled trades shortage – and that means opportunities for skilled workers.

Skilled trade workers already earn competitive salaries. There is also an opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ that allows people to work off their student debt while enrolled in postsecondary training and education.

“Skilled trades jobs do not offer consistent pay – they are seasonal or contractual.”

Skilled trade workers often take on year-round projects. The weather might change, but skilled trades workers are always on the go. This opportunity represents thousands of high-paying, long-term, and permanent jobs for Ontarians.

“Working in the skilled trades is a dead-end.”

Skilled trades aren’t just jobs, they’re careers. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement within the skilled trades; from supervisory roles, to management roles, to owning your own business! A career in the trades is the farthest thing from a dead end – so get ready and be excited!

“Working in the trades is dangerous.”

Ontario’s health and safety requirements for jobs in the skilled trades are among the highest in the world – especially when it comes to enforcement and diligent reporting.

“Working in the skilled trades is too physically demanding.”

Most positions are hands-on, but jobs in the trades are diverse – there’s something for everyone. Working in the skilled trades results in an active career, but not all positions require tedious physical labour. Lots of careers in the skilled trades break the ‘too physically demanding’ myth, as some include design, planning, project management, and administration careers. 

“Skilled trades work isn’t important.”

Skilled trades workers often tell us they are left with a strong sense of accomplishment; they are masters of their field – no different than a master of a specific academic field.

Their work touches almost every aspect of our daily lives: roads and sidewalks, schools, hospitals, bridges, offices, homes, cars, food from processing plants, water and electricity from Ontario’s growing resource sector and the list goes on. 

“Positions in the skilled trades aren’t flexible.”

There are various careers in the skilled trades that offer you flexible hours, travel and the opportunity to be outdoors! This is especially true for qualified tradespersons who own their own business. There are also plenty of employment opportunities in the skilled and technical trades that are closer to home for those wishing to build a career, settle down, and raise a family.

“There’s no work in Ontario”

Ontario is entering a major natural resource and construction era that will require thousands of skilled trades workers. Ontario’s demand for skilled workers is set to increase, so now is the time to start your training.

“Skilled trades are for men.”

More and more women are choosing the skilled trades.