Calling Tenured and Experienced Journeypersons
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Calling Tenured and Experienced Journeypersons

Your work and knowledge are the foundation upon which we will build to train the next generation of tradespeople

By Kristine Cavey, Manager, CLAC Jobs West

As a manager for the CLAC Jobs Team, I am often confronted with the reality that Canada is experiencing a labour shortage in the construction industry. (See the latest forecasts by BuildForce.)

While this fact is not new, it should continue to be cause for concern. Finding solutions to the shortage should remain on the forefront of industry, prioritized by the impacted organizations as well as the current and upcoming workforce.

As a small contribution, below is my call to action to those journeypersons who are nearing or thinking about retirement.

Your expertise is needed now more than ever.

You’ve been working hard for years. You’ve invested. You’ve sacrificed. You’ve built. This union, your workplace, your fellow members—it wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for you.

Do you ever wonder, where’s it going next?

The next generation of tradespeople are just starting out. They’re spunky. They’re energized. They’re . . . lacking in experience.

In the coming years, you’ll be passing the torch on to a group that is just as passionate about a job well done and a thriving work community as you are. But they have little clue of the past, of how you worked to get us to where we are now.

Leave your legacy.

We need mentors like you to impart your wisdom. We need to learn through your experiences. Because your work and knowledge are the foundation upon which we will build to train the next generation of tradespeople.

Consider a mentorship program.

The national apprenticeship programs are designed to transfer your knowledge and learned intuition, as well as your institutional memory, onto the next generation of leaders. While there is often no financial incentive for your involvement, you and your assigned mentee(s) should be given time in the work week to develop the mentorship. Above all, you will have the opportunity—the privilege—to tell your story, build together, and make a lasting impact.

We hear you.

We know you have some reservations. Yes, you have invested so much already. Yes, this new generation of tradespersons are quite different from you. And yes, you are very busy.

You’re not wrong. But here’s how we see it: You’re not done. You’ve got a lot more to give. Why else would you be here?

And although your younger, less experienced colleagues come from different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings, they’re open. They’re willing and ready to see this world through a different lens.

Only you can help them recall a time when labour standards were grassroots (since the early 1900s to the Canada Labour Code in 1985, now used today). Only you can impart lessons that were sorely learned. It’s worth it.

Say yes to the next generation.

Your investment of time and effort are invaluable. And you’re not done building. As Isaac Newton wrote, “If [we] see further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Be our giants.

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