How to Choose the Perfect Career in the Skilled Trades!

Are you considering a career in the skilled trades but feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of options available? As a skilled trades career and business start-up consultant, I’ve helped countless individuals navigate their career paths and find the perfect trade that suits their interests, strengths, and aspirations. In this blog post, I’ll share some information and valuable tips to help you decide which trade is best suited for you.

image of a woman on a brick road marked with 3 arrows with text overlay reading "How to choose the perfect skilled trade career for you."

Identify Your Interests and Passions:

The first step in choosing the right skilled trade career is to identify your interests and passions. Consider what activities you enjoy, whether it’s diagnosing and solving problems, building something from scratch, interacting with customers, working on automobiles, operating machinery and equipment, and more. Reflect on your hobbies, past experiences, and any skills you’ve developed over time. Your interests and passions will serve as a guiding compass in choosing a trade that aligns with your natural inclinations. You should feel excited about the field you want to enter! Do not let salary projections be the only guiding factor in this process as money will not keep you emotionally anchored in your line of work for the long haul. While some skilled trades careers may seem to be higher paying at first, we often forget the intangibles that are difficult to predict like possibilities for advancement and entrepreneurship that can allow your income potential to surpass and exceed initial expectations. Keep in mind that salary data found online typically represents earnings from paid employment under an employer, and may not accurately depict the incomes of individuals who own businesses or have advanced in different roles within the industry.

Assess Your Skills, Abilities, and Preferences:

Next, assess your skills, abilities, and preferences to determine which trades may be the best fit for you. Think about tasks you excel at, whether it’s mechanical aptitude, attention to detail, physical strength, working under pressure, incorporating artistic elements, helping and interacting with customers, or others. Consider any technical skills or certifications you may already have, as well as your willingness to undergo additional training or education. Also, keep in mind what your preferences are concerning your work environment and daily tasks. Things to consider are comfort level working at heights and confined spaces, structured versus spontaneous duties, working indoors versus outdoors, being stationed versus mobile, and more. Identifying your strengths, abilities, and preferences will help narrow down your options and focus on trades where you can thrive. 

Research Different Trades:

Take the time to research different trades and learn more about the requirements, job duties, and career opportunities associated with each one. We often tend to gravitate towards construction trades like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical trades because of their popularity and earning potential without considering the other 141 recognized skilled trades in Ontario across four sectors – motive power, construction, service, and industrial. There is a skilled trade for everyone when you have that many options! Look into factors like job demand, advancement opportunities, ability for entrepreneurism, earning potential, and work environment to get a sense of which trades appeal to you the most. You can also attend skilled trades career fairs or network with the many tradespeople online to gain firsthand insight into various trades. Ensure you find out what the entry point is like for your particular trade of interest and if there are enough opportunities to apprentice in your field of choice in your area. 

Consider Long-Term Goals and Opportunities:

Think about your long-term career goals and the opportunities you envision for yourself in the skilled trades industry. Consider whether you’re interested in pursuing a traditional employment path, starting your own business, or advancing into management or specialized roles. Some trades may offer more entrepreneurial opportunities, while others may provide a clear path for career advancement or specialization. Keep your long-term goals in mind as you explore different trades and consider how each one aligns with your aspirations. If you are someone who enjoys being in leadership situations and excels when given the responsibility and freedom, ensure you are choosing a trade that has an entrepreneurial pathway so you can excel in an environment that is best suited for you and has the most opportunities for long-term growth. 

Seek Guidance and Advice:

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance and advice from professionals in the skilled trades industry, as well as career counsellors or mentors who can provide valuable insights and perspectives. They are everywhere and are always willing to help. Reach out to trade associations, vocational schools, local businesses, and trade professionals on social media for information and support. Networking with professionals in your desired trade online or at events can also provide valuable connections and opportunities for learning and growth.

Trust Your Instincts and Take Action:

Ultimately, trust your instincts and intuition when making decisions about your career path. Choose a trade that resonates with you and excites you on a personal and professional level, and don’t be afraid to take action toward pursuing your goals. Whether it’s enrolling in a government-funded pre-apprenticeship to test drive your trade of interest, or seeking out an entry-level position as a helper to gain experience, taking proactive steps toward your chosen trade will set you on the path to success.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, choosing the perfect skilled trade career requires careful consideration, self-reflection, and research. By identifying your interests and passions, assessing your skills and abilities, researching different trades, considering long-term goals and opportunities, seeking guidance and advice, and trusting your instincts, you can confidently decide which trade is best suited for you. Embrace the opportunities that the skilled trades industry offers and embark on a fulfilling career journey tailored to your unique talents and aspirations.

This is a guest post by Larry La Gamba. Larry is the C.E.O of Trade Links Consulting, where he dedicates his efforts to empowering aspiring entrepreneurs and skilled tradespeople. He actively participates in community outreach initiatives such as The Skilled Trades Mentorship Group on Facebook. Through these platforms, and other ventures, he reaches audiences nationwide as a keynote speaker, presenter, and workshop facilitator, focusing on themes surrounding skilled trades and entrepreneurship. With a wealth of experience, Larry has successfully managed two of his own businesses, notably leading a successful swimming pool leak detection company in Toronto for 17 years and has developed many more for his clients. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, he spent a decade as an educator, teaching French, History, and Civics at elementary and high school levels across public and private institutions in the Greater Toronto Area.

Larry La Gamba

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *