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Supporting Skilled Trades

Skilled trades are essential for many businesses and provide valuable services to the community, from construction, home maintenance, and auto repair to landscaping, medical assistance, and culinary arts. Unfortunately, many skilled trades get overlooked with the emphasis on college educations and advanced degrees, but there are many ways you can support skilled trades at home, at work, and in your community.

What Is a Skilled Trade?

Many occupations require specialized training, often through apprenticeships or designated programs that focus on exactly what the occupation requires without extra embellishments. Depending on the trade and an individual’s level of expertise and specialization, it may take several weeks or even several years to develop mastery. On-the-job training is common with skilled trades, and many trades have several levels of certification, endorsements, and licensure to attain once skills are demonstrated through testing and evaluation.

There are more skilled trades available than many people realize, with different educational and training requirements, pay levels, and workforce demands. Popular skilled trades include:

  • Construction – Electrician, plumber, welder, carpenter, painter, welder, mason, roofer
  • Finishing Work – Locksmith, tile setter, window installer, cabinetmaker
  • Landscaping – Arborist, florist, lawn care technician, lumberjack
  • Mechanics – Auto mechanics, avionics repair, elevator technician, HVAC
  • Personal Services – Manicurist, hairstylist, makeup artist, pet groomer, masseuse
  • Culinary Arts – Chef, baker, chocolatier, sommelier, butcher, caterer
  • Secretarial Work – Legal secretary, medical coder, court reporter
  • Medical Work – Phlebotomist, ultrasound technician, radiation therapist, medical technician
  • Luxury Trades – Gemologist, gemsetter, goldsmith

These are just a few of the skilled trades in high demand. Skilled trades support all types of careers and businesses, and there are many opportunities for anyone interested in different trades and career paths.

12 Ways to Support Skilled Trades

Whether you practice a skilled trade yourself or have a different job or career, there are many ways to support skilled trades to ensure highly trained, expert workers for these critical jobs.

To support skilled trades at home…

1.Hire professionals for trade-oriented work, rather than doing projects yourself that you don’t have the skills to complete. This can save money in the long run, as you won’t need to hire a professional to redo botched work, and you’re supporting small businesses at the same time.

2. Don’t argue wages or try to bargain unfairly with skilled tradesman. Not only do they need to make a profit to pay their bills and support their families, but many skilled workers must also manage small businesses and the overhead that comes with them.

3. Respect skilled workers as the professionals they are and rely on their expertise for the best results on each job. Ask their opinion for alternatives and options, and pay attention to their recommendations to ensure the best outcome for your needs.

4. Educate children about the importance of skilled trades and the vital services they provide in so many ways. Do not belittle skilled trade jobs, and encourage children to learn about different career paths so they can find jobs they are passionate about.

In the workplace, there are even more ways to support skilled trades…

5. Offer training and professional development for the skilled trades in your business, if applicable. Keep certifications and licensures current, and encourage employees to stretch their skills to enhance their abilities and bring new options to your business.

6. Use employee recognition programs to thank skilled laborers and demonstrate how important their contributions are to your business and workplace. This will create a welcoming, friendly work atmosphere and improve employee satisfaction as well.

7. Offer competitive pay and suitable benefits for your skilled employees. Be aware of individual needs, and strive to keep your workplace supportive of trades with the right tools and equipment, workspace, and storage areas.

8. Be willing to take on promising apprentices so they can finish their training in a supportive and skilled atmosphere. Teaching the next generation the necessary skills to perform well in essential trades will help prevent labor shortages and lack of trained workers.

9. Provide job promotions and leadership opportunities so everyone feels invested in the company and can contribute to its success. Plan team-building exercises as needed, and foster an environment of supportive cooperation for employees at all levels.

10. Sponsor a scholarship or training opportunities through local schools to encourage interested youth to investigate skilled trades as viable and promising career paths. Be willing to mentor and participate in school programs as needed.

Even out in the community, there are ways to support skilled trades…

11. Post honest reviews and recommendations for any skilled workers you have personal experience with. Even poor reviews can help promote better training and assist more promising workers in getting new business.

12. Work with local schools, libraries, youth groups, and other organizations to arrange trade fairs so students can be exposed to the wide variety of skilled trades available and how essential these services are throughout the community.

There are many options for supporting skilled trades at different levels, and by offering that support, you can help this essential workforce grow and prosper as their hard work and specialized training demands.

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