In the new Canadian budget, funding is being injected into innovative fields such as Artificial Intelligence, digital economics, and clean tech. While funding these areas is crucial there are domains that have been left out that cannot be ignored. The world is forever moving forward and these fields are the future, but they are not an island, they are part of a whole.
Skilled trades are not mentioned explicitly in this budget change and these kinds of omissions cannot continue. Skilled tradespeople service all industries, and are interwoven with the innovative fields that are about to be bolstered by the new budget. Not only that, the tools skilled tradespeople use and the tasks they complete are becoming more technical every day. Skilled trades need this funding, and need equal representation within the new Canadian budget.
Innovation through Funding
Innovation is made possible through funding and funding can be used to attract the best and brightest to a field. When skilled trades are left out of the conversation when discussing innovation, it makes those positions less attractive to young people. Right now there is a deficit in how many people are entering trades, especially considering that so many are nearing retirement.
Skilled trades are often not considered by young people when considering their futures due to cultural leanings towards university over college and apprenticeships. Over 50% of Canadians between 24-65 have a university degree, which is one of the highest rates in the world. To say that we prefer university degrees to other forms of training or education is an understatement.
Skilled trades need bright young people entering into them, who can handle the ever-changing aspects of the field. Skilled trades utilize innovative technology and tradespeople work on innovative machinery every day. There needs to be funding so that skilled trades can attract the right people.
Learning and Utilizing New Technologies
Most skilled trades have become incredibly innovative in their own right. Classrooms that teach skilled trades are full of innovative technology because of how complex trades have become. Computer-aided design software has replaced traditional pen and paper methods from the past. Drones can be used for surveying, and help with accurate mapping and measurements.
There is also the bottom line in the trade business, which is that it is based on a bid based system, and most of the time the lowest bid wins. To keep bids low, skilled trades must remain innovative and on the cutting edge of their field, able to offer the best service at the best price.
Skilled tradespeople are now lifelong learners, as technology changes at a breakneck pace. An example of this is the accelerated pace at which mechanics must learn to keep up with each new year of innovations in motor vehicles. Cars now come with wifi, computerized parts, and someday they may be self-driving. Mechanics have become multidisciplinary, they must know the complex and varying elements of car repair so that they can do their jobs. To claim that their field is not full of innovation is false, and this is merely one example of a single skilled trade.
Skilled Trades are the Future
Innovation and skilled trades go hand in hand. They cannot be left out of the conversation when discussing innovation and they need to be properly funded to ensure that trades and tradespeople in Canada have a prosperous future.