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A new study released by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Associations (ICBA) reveals that 59 per cent of young adults are unaware of how to get into the trades because of their inaccurate perceptions of construction.

“There are misconceptions about working in the construction industry and we all have a role to play to change them,” said Philip Hochstein, president of the ICBA. “The reality is once you pick up a trade, there is a pathway to a long-term, rewarding career in construction with room for advancement.”

With one million job openings by 2022 and 44 per cent requiring skilled and technical training, the ICBA commissioned NRG Research Group to conduct a poll to understand the current perceptions of skilled trades among British Columbians aged 18 to 29 years old.

“The provincial government is leading the way with the Skills for Jobs Blueprint and we are starting to see the benefits of this work,” said Hochstein. “The construction industry needs to do a better job of showing youth that learning a trade can lead to coveted positions such as estimators, project managers, business development managers and company owners.”

The poll revealed that when given a list of different types of trades opportunities with approximate wages and salaries for B.C. overall, the 12 traditional trade jobs were ranked at the bottom of the list. The greatest interest was in office opportunities such as office managers, business development managers, estimators and project managers.

“Youth are interested in office jobs but do not realize that those opportunities often start with trades training,” said Hochstein. “The takeaway for me is that we need to start promoting careers in construction, not a job in the trades. As an industry, we have some work to do to change the way young people perceive skilled trades. ICBA and the open shop construction industry are rolling up our sleeves to make sure we do.”

In 2015, the details of a new industry-driven body that will address some of these challenges will be announced.

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.