One of the best ways into the trades is apprenticeship training, which offers advanced technical skills by combining on-the-job experience with intensive technical instruction leading to certification.

Today’s youth tell the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) they are open to skilled trades careers in the construction and energy sectors. They value hands-on work and the contribution tradespeople make to the economy. Parents tell us they want to find ways to support their children’s ambitions, seeking more information about the right high school courses to take and the job opportunities available to apprentices.

“As an apprentice, you can start earning money as soon as you complete high school.”

Yet, there are common myths and misperceptions about the skilled trades. For example, parents and youth are concerned these occupations are physically demanding, reflecting a limited awareness of technologies used to support today’s tradespeople, particularly in the construction sector. Here are five reasons to pursue a career in construction:

1. Diverse job opportunities The growing demand for skilled workers continues to increase and diverse jobs in the construction industry are available across Canada in both urban and rural areas.

2. Earn as you learn As an apprentice, you can start earning money as soon as you complete high school. Apprentices earn an increasing proportion of journeyperson wages while progressing toward certification.

3. Salaries are lucrative Construction workers earn more than the average Canadian, with an average annual salary of $61,762 (BuildForce Canada 2014, StatsCan 2013). According to Canadian Business Magazine, construction workers had an average pay increase of six percent last year — nearly double the national average.

4. Build a meaningful career  According to the National Research Council of Canada, construction is a key indicator of economic strength as a $171-billion industry employing 1.24 million people. Canada’s energy sector, a destination for tradespeople and a major construction hub, invested $25-billion in Canada’s clean-energy sector over the past five years and increased employment by 37 percent, according to The Globe and Mail.