Over the next 10 years, Ontario’s construction sector is going to need 37,600 more skilled people than the workforce will provide. That means 37,600 potential jobs for young people who are currently weighing their career options. Yet many youth may not realize construction offers the kinds of opportunities they’re looking for—which is why the conversation about careers in the sector has to change.

Change #1: Construction is part of the knowledge economy.

Like every sector, construction has been transformed by technology over the past decade. Today’s construction careers deliver a rewarding mix of hands-on work, collaborative opportunities and problem-solving challenges, often requiring strong foundations in math and technological skills.

With more than 30 different trades and occupations to choose from, construction offers a wide range of career options and plenty of room to grow for both those who want to advance to supervisory or management roles in established companies, and for entrepreneurially inspired young people who want to start and build their own businesses.

Change #2: There’s work here.

People may not realize just how in-demand construction skills are in Ontario today, and will be for years to come. Over the next decade, 95,000 construction jobs are going to become available in Ontario as current workers retire and new opportunities emerge. According to BuildForce Canada’s labour market information (LMI) analysis, the usual flow of new people entering construction will fill about 58,000 of those jobs. The gap represents a major opportunity for people who may not have considered construction as a career option before. This contrasts starkly with many other sectors where post-secondary graduates find themselves competing with hundreds of their peers for often low-paying, entry-level positions.

"Apprentices make competitive salaries that increase every year, with most apprenticeships lasting three to five years."

Change #3: You can earn as you learn.

Many high-school students don’t realize that through a trade apprenticeship offered at colleges and industry training centres, they can actually earn money while they learn. In fact, apprentices make competitive salaries that increase every year, with most apprenticeships lasting three to five years. Once they complete their apprenticeship, trainees are fully qualified and ready to work in their chosen field.

Change #4: It’s rewarding to build something.

Few occupations provide the sense of accomplishment that construction careers do, with the opportunity to contribute directly to building something that lasts—homes for families, offices for people to work, roads and bridges to get people where they need to go.

Given the demand in the construction industry and the right orientation to the opportunities available, youth today can step into well-paying jobs and become the next generation of skilled tradespeople our economy needs to continue to grow and thrive.