According to Skills Canada, in the next twenty years, 40 per cent of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies. Experts at the Construction Sector Council say this means there will be over four thousand openings for tradespeople in Nova Scotia in the next decade.
In 2005, the Province of Nova Scotia launched its youth apprenticeship strategy designed to increase the number of people entering the skilled trades by providing the opportunity for youth ages 16-19 to register as an apprentice with an employer. Apprenticeship is a proven method of training in which an employee receives on-the-job training from an employer, as well as attends technical training off the job. The apprentice earns money while working and being trained in a designated trade. This training leads to certification.Â
â€œThe Youth Apprenticeship program is an excellent opportunity for young women to enter an apprenticeship while completing their high school education,â€ says Brenda Daniels, Industrial Training and Certification Officer at the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. â€œThose that start in the program at 16 could potentially become a certified journeyperson by the time they are 21â€“22 years of age. Imagine, earning top dollars at that age with no student debt!â€
The WORKIT youth apprenticeship initiative makes taking advantage of these opportunities accessible through Nova Scotiaâ€™s junior and senior high schools. The Department of Labour and Advanced Education works with school boards and First Nation schools to provide funding to help broaden students’ awareness and create unique experiences in the trades.
There are a range of skills available in these trades; whether you are artistic and creative, computer savvy or technically minded, there may be a trade that suits your skills and interests. If you arenâ€™t sure, you can take the personality quiz or read the many trade descriptions available on their website.
Getting involved is easy; first, familiarize yourself with the trades. Read the Designated Skilled Trades Guide, talk to people who work in the fields that interest you and, if possible, spend some time in their workplaces to decide if those career options are right for you. If you are unsure who to contact, set up an appointment with a school guidance counselor, or even your local NSCC; they may have contacts that can help.
Next, get involved in your schoolâ€™s Cooperative Education or Options and Opportunities (O2) programs. These voluntary hours will give you deeper insight into the trade. If after all that you decide to stick withÂ a trade career, find an employer who is willing to offer work in that trade and fill out an Expression of Interest Form; this will help start your registration as a youth apprentice.
After graduation, you can either pursue college education in your trade or, if you are already registered as a youth apprentice, simply continue as a full-time apprentice. What you choose depends on your preferences and learning styleâ€”itâ€™s completely up to you.