Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day Mike!

Watching Mike with his kids makes me realize what I missed out on not growing up with my father. He sure does seem like a great Dad! It's always fun to watch older episodes of Holmes on Homes when little pipsqueak Mike Jr. comes trotting out on the job site with his dad, skinny as a rail. Then you see an episode from a couple years later, "little" Mikey is now 6'4" and towers over everyone, including his dear old dad. Just amazing. I think one of my favorite episode of all time is when Mike Sr. buys Mike Jr. a truck for his birthday. The look on his face was classic. Although, that "world's best hammer" would have made a great gift too, I guess.
On Father's Day, we recognize the good men in and around our lives who have taught us well throughout the years. Being that Mike is the same age as my dad, I do tend to look up to him in certain areas. Most of all, I really admire the way he treats his children... if only all men were as good to their kids, this world would be a much different place! Great fathers like Mike truly deserve their own special day of honor. Happy Father's Day, Mike!

In honor of Father's Day, I've decided to post a recent article ( that Mike wrote for his monthly column. In the article, he talks not only about the importance of people becoming skilled tradesmen and women, but also of how proud is that his children have decided to follow in his footsteps and join the family business. It is very clear that the Holmes family is leading the charge in changing the way people view the trades, both in terms of the prestige and respectability of being a tradesperson, but also how people view the trades as being a lucrative opportunity that both men and women should take advantage of. Mike points out that women make up half the population, there's no reason why women shouldn't step up to the plate and choose a career as a plumber, welder, electrician, or carpenter. Thumbs up, Mike.

Respecting the trades builds a better future
By Mike Holmes, For Postmedia News April 25, 2012

 Mike Holmes says itís crucial to the Canadian economy to get more people working in the skilled trades.Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

It was a really proud moment for me when my son MJ (Mike Jr.) first told me he wanted to work in the skilled trades. And when he said he wanted to join my crew, I couldn't have been happier.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the reaction kids get from their parents when they tell them they want to work in the trades. Sometimes, their parents are disappointed. They think having a career in the trades is some kind of a failure. It's not usually encouraged in schools, or at home — but, thank goodness, this is starting to change.

When I first started down this road more than 30 years ago, one of my goals was to change the way people thought about the skilled trades. I wanted people to feel proud when they said they worked as welders, framers, plumbers, carpenters or electricians. I wanted them to be proud of the work they did and the skill they brought to their craft. And I'm beginning to see this more and more.

Why is having pride so important in the skilled trades? Because it pushes people to do better — and these are definitely industries that you want people to do their best in.

People who are proud of the work they do will put in the extra hours to learn a new technique. They'll talk to other colleagues about what works and what doesn't. They'll do whatever they need to do to make sure every job they do is the best they've done yet.

But when people downplay tradespeople's work, they're really just shooting themselves in the foot. Because all that does is make these people feel like the work they do isn't all that important. And if that's the case, what's pushing them to do a good job?

Remember, these are the people working on our homes and on our roads, manufacturing our cars, and building our schools, hospitals and office buildings. Making them feel like their work is second-class isn't smart. Would you want people who aren't proud of what they do working on your home? I know I wouldn't. I've seen what that does, and it's not good. If more contractors were proud of what they did, I wouldn't see at least half the problems I deal with.

Thank goodness, we're starting to give skilled workers their due respect, and our country is making huge strides toward this. We had better, because, if things keep going the way they're going, Canada will be short 1 million tradespeople by 2020. If you think things were bad now — and they are — you don't want to know what they'll be like if half our skilled tradespeople are missing.

When my daughter Sherry started working on my crew, it was especially important. Why? Because I knew she was helping change the face of skilled trades. We forget that women make up more than half of our population. They represent a huge resource to our country. In fact, if we don't encourage our women to enter the skilled trades, we're setting ourselves up for a huge disadvantage. By empowering Canadian women, we make our country stronger. Some of the hardest-working people I've worked with have been women.

How much is it worth to the economy to invest in women? In 2006, a study revealed it was worth between 15 and 23 billion pounds ($24-38 billion) to the U.K. economy to get more women in the workforce and reduce gender segregation. Now the U.K. is one of the Top 10 economies that isn't facing a shortage in skilled tradespeople.

Today, a job in the skilled trades means earning a salary above the national average. And in the next two decades, it's estimated that 40 per cent of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies.

If you're thinking ahead, getting into the trades could really pay off. The work might be hard, but one thing it's not is boring. Look at me. I've been doing this for a really long time, and there hasn't been a boring day yet. Talk to anyone on my team, and he or she will tell you the same thing.

And it's satisfying. Being able to stand back and see what you've built, watch people enjoy what you've done, and see what a difference it makes to their lives, is really something. It truly is one of the main reasons I got into this in the first place.

Skilled tradespeople are the unsung heroes of our time. But their work supports most of our lives, and their skill can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Think about it: The work of a certified electrician, an accomplished carpenter, or a master plumber, will have a huge impact on your life and your family's. Get a bad one, and you'll quickly learn how important their work really is.
Mike and Sherry

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