Trade Up to Construction

Trade Up to Construction
  By Tracey Tomtene

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I don’t need steel-toed boots to stamp out the myth that construction trades are for people who cannot cut it in school, make a minimal wage, or have no opportunities — I’m using a cool CD-ROM to debunk the myth.

The “Trade Up” CD-ROM Marketing Project recruited me, Tracey Tomtene, and Taryn Sehn from the Management Co-op Program at the University of Lethbridge to show the CD-ROM to schools, youth groups, parent groups, teachers, career counsellors and aboriginal groups because not enough people work in the construction trades right now.

All summer, my classmates and I travel around Alberta to talk about construction and go through an interactive CD-ROM on construction careers. We play computer games, cruise construction sites, and explore a database of trade programs and apprenticeships with students at middle and high schools.

I get to tell students that people who work in trades are intelligent, educated and hard working. In an apprenticeship program, 80 percent of the time is spent learning and working on the job and 20 percent of the time is spent studying at a technical college.

The response has been excellent. Now the committee that created the CD-ROM is extending the project until the end of June 2002 to get the message out that a career in construction is a viable option for young people.

In construction, you can eventually own your own business, master several trades, work up to estimator, site superintendent, or consultant jobs or even move into interior design, architecture or engineering. The wages are very good and summer work can help fund your post-secondary education.
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Anyone thinking about a career in trades can check out our web site,, visit, or cruise through the links at