The trades & trade schools are honorable & worthy

”Trade School Shortfall: As baby boomers retire, up to a million jobs in trades are set to open up [in Canada], but there may not be enough spaces in school.” The Vancouver Sun, June 19, 2010. [In the US, millions more jobs in trades will become available to young people. All of this assumes the economy will hold up at some reasonable level of course.]
Troy Mushynsky of J R's Welding works on a stainless steel railing   to be used at the Old Superstore building on Albert St. Friday January   8, 2010 in Regina.

Troy Mushynsky of JR’s Welding works on a stainless steel railing to be used at the old Superstore Building . . . in Regina, Saskatchewan, CANADA. Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser, Regina Leader-Post

Photo above from The Vancouver Sun, June 19, 2010. To see the video, click on the following link, or copy and paste the link into your computer’s website address browser: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The trades are honorable and worthy

For years I have been speaking and teaching about the value of professional trades people in our society. The least easy ones to convince are people with an academic orientation. They seem to feel that everyone should pursue an academic career. Even though I myself am a highly-credentialed academic, this narrow approach is not a good concept in my view.

The trades are honorable and worthy and should be encouraged by adults, and sought after by students who want to travel that road. It is a good road and the pay is good, frequently better than the majority of academic jobs.

I have attended meetings of professionals designing curricula for public schools, and the main focus is almost always on academic courses. Where are the electricians, the welders, the computer technicians, the native North American craftsmen, the plumbers, the graphic artists, the carpenters, the farmers, the entrepreneurs, the housewives, at these meetings?

The bias in decision-making is obvious, isn’t it?

Trades people would be excellent curriculum designers

My Dad was a Journeyman Electrician and he would have made a great curriculum designer.

Why would my Dad have made a great curriculum designer? He was a good committee man, gentle and patient. He was intelligent, innovative and wise. He had a good grip on the practical world and common sense. He was very aware of the real needs of the business and industrial world we live in, and the kinds of education and training needed to get good  jobs in both the academic and non-academic domains. In short, he had all of the extensive qualifications needed to sit on such a committee in the real world, and be very effective.

“Even Jesus was a carpenter.” – Missionary Friend

Sometimes in meetings, as my fellow academics and I would ponder academics, I felt compelled to draw our attention upwards for a moment. I would point up to the ceiling and say, “Without the professional electrician who installed those lights, one by one, we could not do our work here today.” Then I would go on to point downward to the floor, over to the walls, through the windows, etc. The group was usually dumbfounded. Such groups tend to take it all for granted.

Sometimes I would add: “Without the maintenance staff in this building, this place would look like a landfill site, and the toilets wouldn’t flush.” 😮

I am not against academics

I want to be clearly understood. I am not against academics–I am one! 😮 I am delighted to be an academic, glad to associate with fellow scholars and live in an exquisitely-conceptualized mental world with them. And we do practical work. We are professors at universities, academic teachers at thousands of schools the world over, and planners and researchers, etc.

I have worked hard all my life in the academic schoolwork domain to help children and adults overcome learning difficulties.Surely this was/is a very worthwhile academic career? Of course. Still, that doesn’t stop it from being a relatively narrow, circumscribed space, right?

I have also helped my Dad wire houses, helped friends build their homes, and so on. My Dad taught me that manual labor and skilled trades are honorable and “worthy of all acceptation.”

Evening and night staff are some of the greatest people I have known

Wherever I have worked, I have made it a point to get to know the maintenance and custodial staff. As a “night owl” I always enjoyed the support of the people who make the building work for me, and all the day denizens as well. Yes! 😮

I have great gratitude for, and high respect for, all those who labor that I might be able to do my work. This includes my Mom’s labor as well of course. No pun intended. 😮

It is a mistake in my view to attempt to diminish the value of manual labor or technical skills (or stay-at-home motherhood for that matter). Without these honorable and worthy enterprises, our society could not function properly, or at all.

To a sense of equality for all careers!

Doc Meek, Tuesday, June 22, 2010 (1st posting, very early in the morning) [About 1:00 am, as I recall] 😮

P.S. Some resources (copy and paste the URLs below into your computer’s web browser):

Canadian Schools Directory:

American Trade Schools:

2 Responses to “The trades & trade schools are honorable & worthy”

  • Bravo, Doc! You are talking about something that really deserves more attention than it usually gets. Though I don’t expect the economy to get better anytime soon, I still think the young folks who learn a trade will be quite a few steps ahead of most academics by the time things do start to brighten up.

  • Thank you, Nicole! Delighted to hear from you! Glad you are on board. Blessings, Doc

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