April is Construction Month in British Columbia!

Mike Homes Guest Blog

I have fixed many, many renovations that were done by “professionals”. I’ve seen a lot of tears and heard a lot of horror stories. The labour shortage is going to make things worse. According to the Conference Board of Canada a shortage of more than one million skilled workers is forecasted by 2020. When you need a renovation done and there are no licensed contractors available, what do you think is going to happen? You are going to hire whoever is available and end up on one of my shows.

I have talked about the shortage of skilled trades for years. This is a real crisis we are facing. I’m not overstating it. We do not have enough young people entering the trades to make up for that shortage.

When I first started down this road over 30 years ago, one of my main goals was to change the way people perceive the skilled trades. I wanted people to feel proud when they said that they are a framer, a plumber, carpenter or electrician. I wanted them to be proud of the work they did and the skill they brought to their craft.

It was a really proud moment for me when my son Mike Jr first told me he wanted to work in the skilled trades. And when he said he wanted to join my crew, I was ecstatic. He demonstrates great pride in the work he puts in, and that’s important in this industry. Why? Because it pushes people to do better and build better. Would you want someone who isn’t proud of their work to build your house?

When my daughter Sherry started working on my crew it was especially important. According to Stat Can, women form about half of the population in Canada, but in 2017 only accounted for 14% of apprentices. That’s a problem. I am thrilled that Sherry is so passionate about encouraging women to join the trades. With her work for organizations such as Skills Canada and Skills Ontario and Women Build Habitat for Humanity GTA, she encourages the youth and women to enter the skilled trades. I am so proud of her.

I am glad to see more interest in the skilled trades in the last few years. BC is celebrating Construction and Skilled Trades Month in April. I love that. Anyone who works in the construction field knows how hard it is to find good workers with skills and training. This means that we need more programs, hands-on training and mentorship opportunities for the students. Check out the video for Construction & Skilled Trades Month here.

In early April, Saskatchewan hosted Construction Week in the Province.  In many cities, Construction Associations hosted Think Construction events for students.  These events brought in high school-aged kids to learn about many aspects of construction from safety issues to masonry, electrical, mechanical and many other trades.  I couldn’t go to the events but I was glad to hear that kids were more receptive to considering a career in a trade after attending one of these Think Construction events. I want to see more programs encouraging the youth to pursue construction as a career.

I am a supporter of World Skills and Skills Canada. I love watching the competitions where young professionals compete in skills such as bricklaying and hammering. I’ve seen the drive and passion in the eyes of those kids and I know that they are focused on delivering results and ultimately changing industries and the world around them.

If you are thinking about a career in the trades, I urge you to research apprenticeship and mentorship programs and get hands-on experience. Attend workshops and events that give you the opportunity to try out different trades. Getting into the trades could really pay off. A job in the skilled trades can actually earn you a salary above the national average. We are in dire need of skilled tradespeople. The work might be hard, but one thing it’s not is boring. I’ve been doing this for a really long time, and there hasn’t been a boring day yet. Talk to anyone on my team and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Mike Holmes

Professional Contractor and TV Host

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2018