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Get a Trade

I like my trade.

I have a son who is supposed to graduate from high school this year. I am pretty sure he will. By the amount of homework he does I am not sure how. I keep thinking I worked a lot harder than him. I did walk to school; uphill both ways though.

We have been on his back so to speak. Time to sign up for further education. Time to start applying for summer employment. You know the drill. Time to head out to the real world.

“Get a trade” seems to be the mantra of school councillors et al. The trades are popular. Look at all the money …. you used to be able to make in the oil patch. You can even start working on a trade in BC now before you finish high school. It is called the ACE-IT program.

I likely will be attending a grad ceremony this year. There I will hear the anecdotal dreams of many a student as they lay out their future plans for all of us to hear.

Disappointedly there will be few if any dreaming of a career in auto mechanics, nor likely any considering the automotive industry in general.

There will be aspiring millwrights, electricians, carpenters, welders, pipefitters, heavy duty mechanics and instrument mechanics. Why so few automotive mechanics?

I can give you some stock answers. The pay level is on the lower side of most trades and typically requires a rather high investment in your own tools. The work is dirty, physically demanding and technically demanding.

Sure those are some of the cons. Look at the bright side though. You will likely always be employed. Demand for skilled automotive technicians is high. We are all getting pretty old.

The work is challenging, varied and typically takes place indoors in a warm environment. You will learn to fix your own car, the second most expensive thing you have to take care of next to your house. Once you learn automotive plumbing, electricity, instrumentation, welding, and computer network diagnostics you will likely be able to take care of your house as well. The most expensive thing you will have to take care of in your life.

If you are considering any particular job/career path, choose one based on your interests not salary statistics or what the current demand is. What is in demand now is not necessarily in demand tomorrow. Be flexible and don’t be blind to the opportunities. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom.

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