If you are in the trades, Toronto is the place to be

Finding a job for thousands of Toronto-based white-collared professionals may become even more challenging in the years to come, but for those in the trades, it will be boom time in the city.

Given the sheer scale of construction happening across the city, the number of construction jobs is set to double in the next 15 years in order to accommodate new infrastructure projects along with an aging workforce, says a new report by the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

The study, to be released Tuesday, says the GTA will see an estimated jump of about 147,000 construction-related jobs – both part-time and full-time – by 2031 to work on everything from transit and roads to shopping centres, hospitals, schools and housing. There are currently about 175,000 construction-related jobs in the GTA.

New residential dwellings required in the region will likely exceed 800,000 units, the report says, worth $230 billion in construction investment.

Over the next 15 years, approximately 118,000 workers are needed for $214 billion worth of planned construction activity, and another 29,000 workers are needed to replace those expected to retire.

It estimates that over the next four years, the Toronto area will require about 9,000 new workers per year – with that number growing to 11,000 workers per year by 2028.

The board is calling on employers, policy makers and education providers to set up a task force to “connect the dots” to attract enough talent to tackle all the upcoming construction projects — including Metrolinx’s ambitious transit plans — in the coming years.

The demand is not just for general laborers but also carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, heavy equipment operators and truck drivers, civil engineers and gas fitters, to name a few. The board report lists positions needed in related fields such as administrative, finance and retail sales.

The study says that 62 per cent of the top 50 construction-related occupations the GTA needs would require some form of diploma, certificate or apprenticeship rather than an extensive university education.

It is “important to inform students and workers alike of the skills and education these occupations require,” says the “Building Infrastructure, Building Talent” document.

Unfortunately many South Asian immigrant families actively discourage their children from pursuing a profession in the trades. A shift in thinking could well bring plenty of job opportunities and satisfaction to those who are good with their hands. – CINEWS

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