9 Skilled Trades Careers That Students Should Consider


The skilled trades industry is one of Canada’s most in-demand industries – and with a projected shortage in labour, the compensation for professionals within industry promises to be especially rewarding.

For students and young professionals who enjoy working with their hands and enjoy new challenges that happen outside of the office setting, a skilled trade may just be your next career.

This week at TalentEgg, it’s Skilled Trades Week! And for those of you unfamiliar with what skill-trades are out there, we’ve decided to highlight 9 of the most popular and currently in-demand skilled trades. Check it out!

1. Bricklayer

Bricklaying is far more multi-faceted and complex than the name would suggest. While bricklayers lay bricks, block and stones, it varies in complexity from task-to-task and project-to-project. It could mean building a standard brick house in the suburbs, laying an ornate masonry walkway or installing a gorgeous limestone exterior of a high-rise building.

Bricklaying is as much about architecture as it is about construction. It demands a considerable amount of pre-planning, calculation and blueprint analysis. Bricklaying is not only physical but requires technical skills: mapping out plans, communicating with engineers/architects, selecting tools, and preparing the site.

2. Plumbers

Plumbers repair and install plumbing fixtures, drainage, and waste disposal systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Like bricklayers, they work closely with blueprints to determine if and where they can lay out a plumbing system, while checking for obstructions such as electrical wiring or structure.

Plumbing can be especially complex in installation (i.e. a hospital). It also involves ensuring their piping leaves the least possible waste material while maintaining grade, slope, and avoiding trapping air and fluids in the system.

3. Cabinetmaker

Cabinetmaking involves more than simply designing, building, and repairing cabinets. It encompasses working with a variety of structures such as doors, windows window frames, and all types of furniture. Cabinetmakers must follow blueprints and designer specifications exactly to construct and repair wooden articles. Today, sophisticated equipment, basic woodworking machines, and portable power and hand tools are used to perform many of the job functions.

Cabinetmakers must have a broad knowledge of wood, its structures and properties, and an assortment of cabinetry hardware and materials. A worker with training and education could start in production and work their way up to a supervisory or management position in the wood industry, as the skills are transferable to a number of other professions.

4. Powerline Technician

You may take the electricity in your home and work for granted. But the moment your power shuts off, every powerline technician will suddenly become your best friend. Powerline technicians are responsible for delivering electricity throughout communities, residential and business areas, and most importantly, public services like hospitals.

Technicians are trained to build and maintain power lines, and other related equipment such as conductors, insulators, and transformers. They work with a range of sophisticated equipment. And their work can take them anywhere – be it indoors or outdoors, rain or shine.

5. Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics are, as the name would suggest, responsible for the mechanics of an aircraft. Aircraft mechanics install, maintain, and repair aircrafts and related mechanical and hydraulic systems. Inspection of aircraft equipment is rigorous, to ensure safety for travel. It is regulated federally by Transport Canada.

Their work typically consists of taking equipment apart, checking it, and diagnosing problems. They also perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating, or adjusting valves and seals. An aircraft mechanic may specialize in specific aircraft systems such as engines, airframes or hydraulic systems.

6. Automotive Mechanics

Also known by their simpler title, “mechanics”, these professionals maintain and repair the mechanic and hydraulic system relating to motorized vehicles. Automotive mechanics carry out scheduled maintenance on cars, trucks and motorcycles, using a variety of testing and repair equipment.

New development in motorized vehicles – specifically engines, transmissions and suspension systems, and electronics – means the mechanic’s job is slowly changing with increased skills and a greater emphasis on vehicle diagnosis.

7. Tool & Die Maker

Tool and die makers are one of the most highly skilled professionals in the economy. They produce the tools, dies and special mould that are needed for the machines that make products and equipment that we use everyday. From clothes, to cars, to candles, to candy – tool and die makers make the systems that make just about everything!

In addition to the physical craftsmanship, tool and die makers have strong technical skills, creating and working with shop drawings, computer-aided design and knowledge of the properties of metal, plastic, rubber and composite materials.

8. Machinist

No, not the movie. Machinists are experts of metal. They are to metal, what a carpenter is to wood. Machinists cut, grind, and shape metal and related materials into finished products.

Like carpenters, machinists utilize plans and dimensions that are very precise. Their expertise is usually for a very particular part or finished product such as a wheel well or nose cone for a rocket ship. Like mechanics, their work is constantly in development because of improving technology.

9. Welder

Welding involves the joining of metals using manual, semi-automatic, and automatic arc welding equipment. Welders generally plan their work from drawings and blueprints. They may use hand tools and machines to fabricate, assemble and weld products.

There are many different types of welding depending on the material, equipment and techniques used, the nature of the final product, and the degree of expertise required.

Take a look at our Skilled Trades Career Guide for even more resources!