Not having a university degree because of someone’s love to paint houses, work on cars or fix light fixtures should never make anyone feel low; instead, it should give a sense of accomplishment. They have missed nothing, just traded their degree for something they love to do, a skill that is a necessity for our communities. As Elbert Hubbard said: “work to become, not to acquire.”

Skill trades offer many advantages and cater to an individual’s interests – you get to do what you are good at, and graduate with little to no debt. There are many scholarships and government grants offered for skill trades programs. Also, many apprenticeship programs will pay their trainees for time spent while learning.

Experience is gained immediately through on the job training, so you are able to earn money much sooner than the average university student. In Ontario, skilled trade workers are much needed professionals and some of the best paying skilled trade jobs include: industrial electrician, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, truck & transport mechanic, automotive service technician, steamfitter, pipefitter, welder, construction electrician, plumber and carpenter

Though our society presses the importance of a university degree/diploma, in reality it is the interest of a person that shapes our future workforce. To fight the stigma placed on skill trades, our community has to work together, and youth need to be encouraged to be who they are and to do what they love. Working together with our youth is the only way to utilize our future potential.

In an economy where youth are coming out of school with trouble finding employment, skill trades is an area with lots of opportunities. Such workers are becoming especially more and more valuable in an inflationary economy. They are in fact part of the solution of the current unemployment problem.

If you enjoy working with your hands, and being active and creative without the need for long-term schooling, a career in skilled trades just might be for you. As famous author and diplomat Madeline Kunin said, “A skilled worker, regardless of job description, remains a treasure.”