Essential Skills
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While looking at general trades categories, start writing down a list of your own talents, interests and abilities...

Getting started: Choosing a trade

In the last newsletter we looked at education to prepare you for an apprenticeship. This time we'll talk about getting started.

'Which trades would work best for me?'

Considering which trade to pursue means taking a closer look at your skills and interests. Most people have a healthy fear of heights. But if the thought of working at heights leaves you in a cold sweat, then a trade like ironworking, or jobs working on scaffolding might not be for you. So the first thing is to look at what general areas seem most interesting to you and best suited to skills that you already have. 

General trades categories

There are over 200 trades (both regulated and non-regulated) in Canada to choose from. Generally, these trades fall within four main categories:

  • Construction – electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters, welders, heavy equipment operators, painters, etc.
  • Motive Power – automotive service technicians, aviation technicians, automotive painters, fuel/electrical systems technicians, etc.
  • Manufacturing – tool & die makers, industrial mechanics (millwrights), precision metal fabricators, etc.
  • Service – horticulturalists, chefs, florists, etc.
(see for more information).

Start a list

While looking at these general categories, start writing down a list of your talents, interests and abilities. Get familiar with some of the trade choices first. Then you can start researching specific trades in more detail to find out which is the right fit.

If you are unsure about your trade choice, then you could look for unskilled work related to that industry and keep your eyes open while you are working there. Most important is to ask questions and build your skills.  It's all about discovering a trade that is right for you.

Job opportunities

It’s also important to consider job opportunities when choosing a trade. People who are willing to travel likely won’t have a hard time finding work. However if an individual hopes to stay close to a specific community, they will have to choose a trade with steady work in that area

Next time we will give you some tips on how to choose a trade.

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