Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trades entry barred by red tape

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I question the federal government's reasoning that the current shortage of skilled trades workers can only be solved by bringing in foreign-trained workers (Newcomers with skills filling void, Aug. 17).

Instead of spending millions recruiting carpenters, electricians and welders from outside Canada, how about spending some of that money promoting the trades within Canada and developing training programs and subsidizing businesses that will allow Canadians, particularly young Canadians among whom unemployment is high, to work in these high-demand fields?

My son, who is a recent graduate from a well-respected Winnipeg high school, was seriously considering getting his ticket as an industrial electrician until he found out there is a two-year waiting list just to take a five month pre-employment electrical program at Red River College. When he approached Apprenticeship Manitoba for career guidance, their advice was to get out the Yellow Pages and start cold-calling potential employers willing to take him on as an apprentice.

So after contacting numerous firms -- none of whom even returned his calls or emails -- he has decided, probably like many young Canadians, to give up his dream to work in the trades and head off to university instead.

JO-ANNE GIBSON

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2013 A8

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