Educators want better tools to teach skilled trades: CAF report

Wednesday January 07, 2015
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Jan. 6, 2015 - A report by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) suggests that with 91 per cent of educators convinced skilled tradespeople will always be in demand, there is a strong case for connecting students to hands-on activities and accurate employment data.

In a survey of 715 teachers across the country, 93 per cent say they are encouraging students to consider careers in the skilled trades. On the other hand, only 13 per cent of parents and 18 per cent of youth agree, highlighting gaps among the three groups when it comes to awareness of career pathways after high school.

The three groups agree that the skilled trades involve hard physical labour, something that new technologies mitigate in many trades.
 
This belief may be causing a disconnect when it comes to developing the right skills for success in the trades, said Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of CAF-FCA. “More than ever before, tradespeople are using technology to address the physical nature of their jobs. Parent and educator perceptions about the trades may be misdirecting youth when it comes to the right skills for success in the trades.”
 
Understanding educator views is important as they impact student aspirations, educational goals and career choices, and can either challenge or reinforce negative stereotypes about the skilled trades, added CAF-FCA.

Educators are the most positive in their perceptions of tradespeople, according to the report. It also found that educators believe that there is room for more field trips and hands-on opportunities, better-equipped trades classrooms and more integration of skilled trades content in high school curricula.
 
“This tells us educators are thirsty to pass along insights to their students, particularly when it comes to connecting class work to employment opportunities,” continued Watts-Rynard. “Empowering educators to give timely and relevant advice to their students will make a big difference to how young people feel about a future in the skilled trades.”

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