SkillsTrader Briefing: October 19, 2020

The future needs skilled trades. Use SkillsTrader to find the best job for you, access the latest training, and enhance your competitive edge. Here's the latest on the demand for skilled trades.

Awareness and recognition

  • According to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), demand is growing for automotive technicians to be trained to work on electric vehicles. A coalition of environmental and conservation groups is calling for the federal government to spend $10 million on zero-emission vehicle automotive technician training modelled on BCIT's provincial program.
  • Harbor Freight Tools for Schools has awarded $1 million to trades teachers across the United States. "An automotive technology teacher from Colorado, an engineering teacher from Colorado, and an industrial technology teacher from California" were named the grand prize winners.
  • The US-based National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) has announced five winners in the second annual NACCE 2020 Pitch for the Trades competition , presented in partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. They'll share the $125,000 prize aimed at "expanding economic opportunities for students and communities in the skilled trades and apprenticeships."
  • A report led by Ryerson University found that Canada's small and medium-sized enterprises identified skills shortages as a major competitive challenge with manufacturing and construction among the hardest hit industries.
  • A mechanic from Merrickville, Ontario has launched a mobile garage service called The Roaming Ratchet that promises a safe and welcoming space for the region's LGBT community. "People have reached out to me from all around North America," said founder Kai Dean.
  • New Zealand's Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) said more than 5,600 new apprentices have signed up since July 2020, a new record. The government launched a $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package in May as part of its efforts to get people back to work following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Education and training

  • A new Automotive Technology facility is now open on Calhoun Community College's campus in Decatur, Alabama. A new Mazda Toyota plant is being built nearby that will eventually employ 4,000 people and the new training facility will help meet the growing need for skilled automotive technicians.
  • The executive director of The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania said the trades are one of the most misunderstood opportunities in the region. "There is incredible opportunity for our youth as well as those looking to change their career path," said Teri Ooms.
  • Skills Canada hosted a Trade and Tech Chat panel to explore career opportunities and education paths for cabinetmaking and woodworking.
  • A new program at Edward Milne Community School in B.C. called Metal TASK (Trades Awareness Skills and Knowledge) allows "Grade 11 and 12 students to immerse themselves in the metal fabrication trade while earning dual credits for high school graduation and at Camosun College."
  • The Southern Chiefs' Organization (SCO) and Vickar Automotive Group have launched a $50,000 scholarship for First Nation students in Manitoba. "Scholarships will be awarded annually to a student attending Yellowquill College and a student attending the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT)."


  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum will hold its 2020 AGM virtually on Oct. 21.
  • The Australian Industry Group is hosting a free webinar on Oct. 26 to "discuss the state of the apprenticeship system, the impact of the pandemic and strategies that will support long-term skills needs."
  • Canada's National Skilled Trade & Technology Week will be celebrated from Nov. 1-8. Virtual events are planned to "raise awareness of skilled trade and technology careers to parents, youth and educators."


  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is reportedly investing up to $1.5 billion in its Windsor assembly plant in Ontario to produce new plug-in hybrid "and/or" all-electric cars starting around 2024.
  • A new game called Farm Mechanic Simulator is in development for the Nintendo Switch with a release slated for Q4 2021. "You will have the chance to play as a mechanic who, to no one's surprise, specialises in repairing and testing agricultural vehicles and machines."

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