Educators call for better tools to teach skilled trades: Report

But parents, teachers, students mismatched on perceptions
||Last Updated: 12/11/2014

With 91 per cent of educators convinced skilled tradespeople will always be in demand, there is a strong case for connecting students to hands-on activities and accurate employment data, according to a report released by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA).

In a survey of 715 teachers across Canada, 93 per cent said they are encouraging students to consider careers in the skilled trades. However, only 13 per cent of parents and 18 per cent of youth agree.

The three groups agree, however, when it comes to belief that the skilled trades involve hard physical labour, something new technologies mitigate in many trades.

This belief may be causing a disconnect when it comes to developing the right skills for success in the trades, said Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF-FCA's executive director.

"Many trades rely on strong math and science skills. More than ever before, tradespeople are using technology to address the physical nature of their jobs. Parent and educator perceptions about the trades may be misdirecting youth when it comes to the right skills for success in the trades," she said.

Of the three groups, educators are the most positive in their perceptions of tradespeople, claiming to understand apprenticeship and the benefits of skilled trades careers. Yet, educators think there's room for more field trips and hands-on opportunities, better-equipped trades classrooms and more integration of skilled trades content in high school curricula.

“This tells us educators are thirsty to pass along insights to their students, particularly when it comes to connecting class work to employment opportunities. Empowering educators to give timely and relevant advice to their students will make a big difference to how young people feel about a future in the skilled trades,” said Watts-Rynard.

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