The provincial government recently issued a media release recognizing the importance of tradespeople to our society (November 5 to 11 marks Apprenticeship Recognition Week). In their gender-cleansed write-up, this year’s statistics are as follows:
- There are over 35,000 adult apprentices;
- There are over 4,000 youth program participants; and
- There are over 4,000 foundation students in British Columbia.
“From arborists to heavy duty mechanics to welders,” their release states, “the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and post-secondary institutions in B.C. offer aspiring tradespeople more than 100 trades programs from which to choose.”
According to information from the BC Tradeswomen Society, the picture is very male.
“In BC the number of women in the building, construction, and maintenance trades has never risen above 5% and in many trades is below 1%. These numbers remain the same even though in BC alone there are estimated shortages of over 50,000 skilled workers over the next 10 years.“
Trades are one of the few remaining well-paying careers with a built-in training component (Canada is renowned for mediocre employee training) and an established future demand. According to Neuvoo.ca, the average annual income for a tradesperson is around $57,006, or $29 per hour.
“This is around 1.7 times more than the Median wage of the country,” states the site. “Entry level positions start at $40,000 while most experienced workers make up to $80,000. These results are based on 49 salaries extracted from job descriptions.”
According to the recent government release, in a four year program, an apprentice spends 20% of their time in classroom based technical training, and the remaining 80% getting paid on-the-job experience with an employer sponsor. After completing apprenticeship training and exams, an apprentice joins the workforce as a “ticketed” tradesperson.
Earlier this year, the BC government announced additional spaces in trades training to meet an anticipated future demand.
So, an SPN tip of the hat to all the hard-working and talented tradespeople and apprentices who participate in formal apprenticeship training; and an extra nudge for women in that general direction. These jobs pay well, have a future, and provided you find the right boss or become self-employed, offer a high degree of job satisfaction.
- Summer Jobs at Jooble.org
- For information on entering the trades for women, visit the Women in Trades ITA BC website.
- Employers interested in sponsoring a woman apprentice through ITA’s Women in Trades Training initiative can click here to learn more.
- BC Tradeswomen Society
- Women in Trades ITA BC
A Sooke Woman in the Trades: Meet Mary-Anne Bowcott, owner of Westcom Plumbing. Bowcott previously appeared in SPN as a Featured Entrepreneur.
If you know other women in the trades in Sooke, please pitch their services in the comments below!