Canadian Plastics

Canada needs to do more to attract young people to the skilled trades, report says

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Despite Canadians thinking highly of skilled trades, the 3M report notes, over three-quarters say they wouldn't pursue a skilled trade for themselves.

Ninety-six per cent of Canadians agree that the country’s workforce needs more skilled trades workers, according to the latest research from the annual 3M State of Science Index.

But despite Canadians thinking highly of skilled trades and the professionals who work in them, the report says, over three-quarters (76 per cent) of Canadians say they would never pursue a skilled trade for themselves, indicating the need for immediate action by Canadian organizations to champion skilled trades and do more to showcase fulfilling career pathways available to young Canadians.

“Getting Canada’s youth excited about skilled trades will be critical to ensuring a robust and healthy economy as we emerge from the impact of the global pandemic,” said Terry Bowman, manufacturing and supply chain leader at 3M Canada. “It is imperative Canadian organizations provide equitable access to STEM education to passionate young Canadians interested in pursuing a skilled trade. With over 900 skilled workers at 3M Canada, we recognize the importance of skilled trades to Canada’s economy and are fully committed to supporting the next generation of skilled workers.”

The path forward for Canada’s skilled trades sector begins with removing barriers to skilled trades pathways and ensuring the right educational resources reach Canada’s youth, according to 3M. 3M says Canadian organizations must act now to not only change perceptions of trades and technical programs but to introduce the field to youth who may not have considered pursing a skilled trade before.


Key findings from 2022 3M State of Science Index are:

  • 96 per cent of Canadians agree the workforce needs more skilled trade workers.
  • 92 per cent believe there is a lot of opportunity in skilled trades.
  • 91 per cent trust vocational/trade schools to give them the education needed to have a successful career.
  • 81 per cent believe they would earn as much money in a skilled trade as they would in a career that requires a degree from a traditional four-year university/college.
  • Though Canadians think highly of skilled trades and the people who work in them, three-quarters (76 per cent) would never pursue one themselves.
  • 47 per cent of Canadians who did not pursue a career in a skilled trade said that the top reason was that they had other interests they wanted to pursue for a career.


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