July 17, 2023

The importance of skilled trades in building a sustainable and inclusive future (SDG 4, 9 & 11)

On July 15th, we celebrated World Youth Skills Day and the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. One area of employment that deserves particular attention is the skilled trades.  

The demand for skilled tradespeople is at an all-time high. According to Statistics Canada, it is estimated that 700,000 skilled trade workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028, creating an increasingly high number of job vacancies. 

While it may not be immediately apparent, the skilled trades, which include professions like carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and more, play an increasingly critical role in promoting sustainable development. Not only do the skilled trades drive economic growth, but they contribute to the long-term viability and resilience of our communities. They’re also key to advancing innovative technologies like energy-efficient construction, renewable energy installations, and green technologies, which helps us get closer to our net zero goals.  

Recognizing the critical importance of skilled trades in securing a sustainable future, inspiring the next generation of tradespeople becomes paramount.

This is particularly true among equity-deserving groups – not just as a matter of equality but as an essential step toward building a stronger and more inclusive future. By tapping into a larger talent pool, we can enhance problem-solving capabilities, meet labour market demands, and create a workforce that truly reflects the diversity of our communities (as outlined here).  

Colleges and institutes are experts in hands-on learning and offer over 300 pre-apprenticeship programs in over 20 skilled trades. Over 80 of those programs are designed to support traditionally underrepresented groups in the trades. CICan is committed to helping members promote and develop these programs as a means of building a sustainable and inclusive future and is proud to lead the Career Launcher Apprenticeships program, which provides financial incentives to small and medium-sized employers in construction and manufacturing sectors to help them hire first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal trades.

New National Safety Workwear Discount Program for Students 

CICan and Mark’s Commercial have teamed up to increase the participation of equity-deserving groups and improve safety in the skilled trades. As part of the partnership, Mark’s is offering students from member institutions an exclusive 20% discount on in-store purchases of safety workwear and personal protective equipment. A percentage of product sales generated through this partnership will then be reinvested in student bursaries. Students can access the discount code here.  

Further Reading: 

  • How do you ensure the sustainability of the trades? Keeping up with the demand for skilled trades workers in Canada requires more effective action to attract people from underrepresented groups to pre-apprenticeship programs and, eventually, to a promising career. That’s where we come in. Read more on the blog.
  • Financial incentives empower small and medium-sized businesses. Many are calling labour shortages in skilled trades a crisis. By taking advantage of financial incentives and training resources, businesses can contribute to the growth of the construction industry while nurturing a skilled and engaged workforce. Listen to the podcast with Ashley from the Career Launcher Apprenticeships team.
  • Green literacy is a new take on skills. Part of building a sustainable future is equipping youth with the skills they need to get green jobs. Just under 1,000 total college and institute programs (or approximately 10% of all programs) are specifically focused on sustainability. Read more on the blog.