For a lot of parents, having had their kids home from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had its challenges. But for some, they have found a silver lining and have made good use of their extra time by teaching their children some valuable skills. Skills, that if they choose, can turn into very rewarding careers. “What better time than forced home time to teach your kids an aspect of your trade?”, says Kelly Ireland, a journey-status commercial plumber in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has made good use of scrap copper to teach both her children soldering techniques during their extra time at home together.
For many kids of parents who work in construction, a lot of what their parents do day in and day out to provide for them can be a mystery. “Never pass on an opportunity to get kids psyched about a trade,” says Pat from Davidson’s Electrical out of Orangeville, Ontario. Pat, an electrician of twenty years, is the father of two daughters, both of whom, from a young age, have expressed an interest in the work their Dad does. “My kid wants to be an underwater welder. As a tradesman for 20 years, I’m proud. As a father I’d rather her just be a regular welder, but I know I ain’t gonna have a say in it.” says Pat of his eldest daughter. One thing he does have a say in is how they spend their spare time. “Two things I enjoy”, says Pat, “One: Taking game controllers away and replacing them with tools and two: breaking the rule that my two daughters need jobs that are comfortable.” He regularly gives his eldest daughter hands-on training. “There’s no way she’s gonna be an office type in life”, Joe says. “I like watching when the light bulb goes on and she gets it...It’s impressive how quickly she picks up on technique.”
With the skilled trades gap only getting larger, we must begin to engage the younger generation. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis of the most recent 2017 Survey (ACS) data reveals that the median age of construction workers is 42. This number is especially troubling considering the desperate need for more workers. According to a 2018 Trade Labor Shortage Survey from Angie’s List and Home Advisor, 63% of the companies did not hire as many skilled workers as they had planned due to not being able to find skilled workers to fill open positions. The industry is not slowing down and these workers, deemed essential during the current Pandemic that has led to the grimmest unemployment rate since the great depression, are in high demand. Here’s to hoping kids come out of this extra family time with more than just some extra skills under their belt.