As she explains the steps in a routine household wiring project to a high school student, Rosemary Crane has to raise her voice to be heard over the pounding of a nearby carpentry demonstration.
Crane, the Skills Canada P.E.I. provincial youth outreach coordinator, helped set up hands-on displays for the carpentry, electronics and electrical trades during the Western P.E.I. Job Fair held Thursday at Mill River Experience.
A red seal electrician, Crane said she’s accustomed to being on job sites when workers from other trades are present. On Thursday she was helping to promote education and careers in the trades.
“There’s a big shift towards getting the youth engaged in trades and pointing them towards jobs in trades, because there is going to be a demand,” she said, pointing to an anticipated shortfall of two million tradespeople in Canada by 2020.
Crane pointed out the average tradesperson in Canada is between 57 and 60 and is already thinking of retiring.
“We need the younger people getting involved and coming up behind us,” she said. “The infrastructure of the country is going to need it, for sure.”
While Crane was showing a student how to complete an electrical circuit, a carpentry instructor was bravely holding onto a piece of wood as high school students took aim at a nail with a hammer while building a take-home carpenter’s tool box.
“They’re getting a lot of exposure and we’re getting them curious. We’re opening up doors and letting them see stuff they wouldn’t normally see,” Crane said of the try-a-trade demonstration.
The outreach coordinator pointed out incomes in the trades are quite lucrative and the opportunity to become self-employed is promising.