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Emerging Careers

Forge Your Future in Trades with Jamie McMillan

Jamie McMillan and her tools
Jamie McMillan and her tools

Mediaplanet caught up with trades advocate and founder of KickAss Careers, Jamie McMillan, to chat about the importance of pursuing a career in the trades and the opportunities within it.

Mediaplanet: Why is it important for young people to consider the trades as an industry for a career?

Jamie McMillan: Until I worked in construction, I didn’t grasp the concept of how much we depend on the skills and abilities of craft workers to build and maintain the structures that provide our shelter and transportation, and support our economy. Skilled trades are everywhere and as long as humans occupy this planet, we’ll continue to depend on skilled labour so there will always be work available for those who have the passion and drive to succeed in the industry. With the increasing population and lack of individuals entering skilled trade pathways, we have a huge labour shortage, from apprenticeships to management positions. These are lucrative careers that offer sustainable salaries and incredible opportunities to work anywhere across the country and even the world.

What tips do you have for people who are looking to get into the industry?

DO IT. If you’re a student in high school, sign up for shop classes. If you enjoy them, find out about the apprenticeship programs offered through your education system and sign up. Get involved with Skills Competitions and events to get recognized by employers seeking new talent.

If you’re an adult and enjoy working with your hands, look for community job fairs and exhibits that are trades-related, sign up for tech programs, or contact local employers and unions to find out more about their apprenticeship programs and application processes. 

Skilled trades are about ability, so if you have the passion and drive to succeed, don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love and trust me, we need you!

What’s the most rewarding part of working in the trades?

Skilled trades changed my life in so many positive ways. I love the diversity of working in the trades. I get to do different things daily and work with so many interesting people. Everyone you meet has a unique story and can add so much value to your career with their own knowledge and experience. It’s physically challenging and keeps you strong and motivated. It keeps you engaged intellectually when trying to figure out the best way to design, build, or utilize the tools and equipment in the most safe and efficient way to complete a project. However, the best part is that you get to experience the empowerment of seeing your progress. Each day ends with a sense of accomplishment. As the days, weeks, and months pass the results of your labour is truly rewarding.

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