Thursday, May 30, 2013

Five Basics You Need to Join the Skilled Trades

So you want to be a tradesman (or tradeswoman). Now what? What are the attributes you need to succeed in the skilled trades? Not too long ago, pretty much all you needed in many people's minds was a warm body and a strong back, but for the last decade Mike Holmes has been working to change that perception. As Mike points out in the article below, everything around you was created by someone in the trades, from the bed you sleep in, to the car that drives you to and from work every day. Shouldn't something so vital to the way we live our lives every day be treated with much more respect? What does it take to join the skilled trades according to Mike Holmes? It takes more than just the ability to swing a hammer, although that is important. If you think you've got what it takes, read the article below about the five basics Mike feels you need to become a successful tradesman or tradeswoman.
 From the Vancouver Sun:

Five basics you need to join the skilled trades

Opinion: We'll be short about one million tradespeople by 2020


We need the right people to do vital skilled trades jobs correctly, says noted home show TV host Mike Holmes.

Skilled trades are important. Not just for me, but for everyone. Why? Because they shape our world. That’s a huge responsibility.
Think about it. How many times a day do you depend on the work of skilled trades? From your roads, cars, house, electricity, plumbing, food, clothes — even your bed! Everything around you was made by someone who works in the trades. When you understand that, you start thinking about the trades a little differently.
If these people are building your world, wouldn’t you want them to be good at what they do? You want them to care. You want them to be passionate about their work. And you want them to not only do a good job, but always do their best. That’s who I want building my house, making my car, my food, taking care of me at the hospital, constructing the bridges I use.
They don’t call them skilled trades for nothing. You need skill to do the job. Not anyone can do this work. But the old idea is that if you can’t do anything else, you get into the trades. And that’s what I’ve been seeing. A lot of people doing important jobs they don’t know how to do — and they don’t want to do. It’s also why we’re in the situation we’re in. We’re going to be short about one million tradespeople by 2020.
We need the right people to do the job right. But that can’t happen if working in the trades isn’t seen as something positive, something to respect and be proud of.
Luckily, that’s changing. The kids I see coming into the trades are proud of what they do. They put in the time to push their skills to the limit. And when the job gets tough, so do they.
If you’re thinking about joining the trades, there are five basic things you need.
One: Passion for what you do. If there’s no passion, there’s no respect. And if there’s no respect, there’s no point.
Two: Drive. Working in the trades isn’t easy. It’s long hours, a lot of training, and sometimes there isn’t room for mistakes. Why? Because some mistakes can kill people.
Let’s say you work in sales and you come up with the wrong sales strategy. The worst that can happen is that you don’t sell anything. But if you rewire an electrical panel the wrong way, people can get hurt. The stakes are high and the real pros respect that. They take their job seriously because people get hurt when they don’t.
Three: You need the right skill. Let me give you an example. My son Mike Jr. has been working with me since he was 14. I remember his first day he stuck a nail through his thumb. He didn’t say anything, just held it in. All I said was, “It hurts, doesn’t it?” Nine years later, he’s a full-time crew member and even supervising jobs. But he’s also in school, getting the proper training. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. He wanted to invest in his skills, his know-how, and his abilities to do a job right the first time.
Four: You need the right attitude. It’s tough work and expectations are high. And it’s tougher for women. Women have to work twice as hard to get the same respect as the guys they work with. Is it fair? No. But it makes them better. I always say women in the trades make the men more honest. They raise the bar and everyone else has to meet it.
If you’re working on a crew or a team, and there’s pressure to get a job done on time, people don’t always have a lot of patience — especially when you’re learning. Don’t be discouraged if you get some flak — or what some like to call “constructive criticism.” You need a thick skin. Don’t take things personally. The best in the industry didn’t start out as the best. It takes time.
Finally, No. 5: You need to be safe. Be aware of your surroundings. Know what equipment you will be using, what environment you’ll be working in, and all the gear you need to stay safe. No job is too small. Remember: It’s not just about making things work. It’s about making them work safely.
The new generation of tradespeople are picking up the slack. They’ve got a big job on their hands. But I think they’re up for the challenge.
‘Olympics’ of skilled trades
• The Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) remains the only event of its kind in Canada. It is the only national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.
The main goals of this event are to provide competitors with hands-on work experience and to raise awareness for the general population of the value of and challenge in skilled trades and technology careers. The SCNC showcases the talent and the expertise of young competitors from across Canada. It will be held this year in Vancouver at BC Place Stadium from June 5 to 8.
The SCNC is the main step in selecting the members of Team Canada for the WorldSkills Competition that is held every two years. The next WorldSkills Competition was awarded to Leipzig, Germany and will be held this July.

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