Canada needs to do more to attract young Canadians to skilled trades: 3M


Ontario Construction News staff writer

The annual 3M State of Science Index shows 96 per cent of Canadians agree that the country’s workforce needs more skilled trades workers, however, most respondents also said they would not pursue a trade. 

It’s a disconnect that 3M says Canada must address to entice young workers into skilled construction trades careers.

“Getting Canada’s youth excited about skilled trades will be critical to ensuring a robust and healthy economy as we emerge from the impact of the global pandemic,” Terry Bowman, manufacturing and supply chain leader at 3M Canada, said in a statement. 

“It is imperative Canadian organizations provide equitable access to STEM education to passionate young Canadians interested in pursuing a skilled trade. With over 900 skilled workers at 3M Canada, we recognize the importance of skilled trades to Canada’s economy and are fully committed to supporting the next generation of skilled workers.”

By 2025, 3M is committed to creating five million unique STEM and skilled trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals.

“The shortage of skilled professionals in Canada is daunting. Misconceptions and lack of awareness surrounding these careers makes it difficult to fill the gaps, but it is important now more than ever that we encourage and support Ontarians pursuing these fields,” states Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario. 

“For over 30 years, Skills Ontario has developed a growing portfolio of programs and initiatives to help students of all ages and backgrounds understand that they can find fulfilling career paths in the skilled trades and technologies. 

“We also provide them, their parents, and their educators information on informative, skill-building programs and work-experience opportunities that can help them pursue these positions. The shortage is a challenge, but it is one we are addressing every day.”

Key findings from 2022 3M State of Science Index include:

  • 96% of Canadians agree the workforce needs more skilled trade workers
  • 76% would never pursue a skilled trades career
  • 92% believe there is a lot of opportunity in skilled trades
  • 81% believe they would earn as much money in a skilled trade as they would in a career that requires a degree from a traditional four-year university/college.
  • 47% of Canadians who did not pursue a career in a skilled trade said that the top reason was that they had other passions they wanted to pursue for a career


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