Over the next decade, Ontario’s construction workforce is expected to grow by seven percent, or 25,000 workers. For young job seekers who prefer a career outside the office, with plenty of variety and a salary above the national average, construction is the industry of opportunity. Just ask 23-year old Calli Doucette.

Four years ago, she made the hard decision that all high school graduates have to make — what to do after school. While her parents supported her career choice, her friends had little to say. That was then.

“Now, because they’re getting out of college and university and starting at minimum wage with school debt, they look at me and say, you’re doing well in life, I really should have gotten into the skilled trades,“ says Doucette, who is a fourth year electrical apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 303, in Niagara Region.

A career in demand

Young skilled tradespeople, like Doucette, are in demand in Ontario. That’s because of shifting demographics, as up to 86,000 baby boomers or roughly 22 percent of the province’s skilled workforce gets set to retire over the next decade. With retirements across more than 50 trades and occupations, there are plenty of career options, from construction managers, homebuilders and renovators, to carpenters and millwrights.

"Most of the new jobs in construction will be in the GTA and Southwestern Ontario, where construction employment is expected to rise by 10 percent over the decade."

“There’s tremendous opportunity for a whole new generation of skilled tradespeople,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “As the construction industry grows, it’s also becoming more specialized, requiring people with all kinds of different backgrounds, from technical to math and science.”

Most of the new jobs in construction will be in the GTA and Southwestern Ontario, where construction employment is expected to rise by 10 percent over the decade. That growth is driven by some of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects, including the “Big Move” and refurbishment of the Darlington and Bruce Power nuclear facilities.

Mining and infrastructure projects including the Energy East pipeline project and ongoing hydroelectric and transmission work is expected to increase construction employment by as much as five percent in Northern Ontario between now and 2024. Add to that steady growth in housing construction in the GTA, Northern and Central Ontario, and it all means that the industry needs thousands of new workers to fill the openings and build a career in construction.

“Young people who are looking for rewarding work will find it in construction,” added Sparks. “The industry is actively recruiting the next generation with the skills and talent to lead it through unprecedented growth.”