Explore your future in the trades or applied technology fields | Vancouver Island University

Explore your future in the trades or applied technology fields | Vancouver Island University

Are you wondering if a career in trades or applied technology is right for you? Careers in these fields can pay off in a big way – with as little as nine months of education. The labour outlook for these jobs remains strong, with more than 106,000 jobs expected to open up in just the trades, transport and equipment operators sector alone. As technology advances, most of these careers will require some post-secondary training.

Sparking a passion for metalworking at age 16

Sarah Dmytruk

Sarah Dmytruk, who started the Welding program at VIU at just 16 years old, has never looked back. She was so eager to start, she had her first welding job before she finished high school. Her favourite parts of the job include working with her hands and facing and overcoming challenges every day.

From tinkerer to renowned cybersecurity expert

Man smiling in front of colourful background

Ron Brash

Ron Brash turned a passion for tinkering with computer programs and designing web pages into a career with VIU’s Information Technology and Applied Systems (ITAS) diploma program – also while he was still in high school. Brash is now a renowned cybersecurity industry expert who recently won Control Engineering’s Engineering Leaders Under 40, Class of 2020, using the skills he learned at VIU as a stepping stone to his current position as Director at Verve Industrial Protection.

The art of whole animal butchery

Girl wearing mask in a butcher shop

Ariana White

Ariana White used her training in VIU’s Culinary Arts program to focus on whole animal butchery and she plans to open her own charcuterie shop one day. Her days at VIU were made memorable by the knowledgeable faculty and her favourite course was the butchery/breakfast class of course!

Trades and Applied Technology Virtual Expo

Think a career in the trades could be right for you? Come out to VIU’s first-ever Trades and Applied Technology Virtual Expo on May 27, where you’ll discover more about the University’s 17 different options to choose from, learn about funding opportunities (in some cases you can get your training either fully or partially paid for) and meet instructors.

Check out these five reasons to consider a career in the trades:

There are hundreds of jobs to choose from.

When people think about trades careers, occupations like carpenter, heavy equipment operator, electrician and mechanical technician immediately come to mind. But in reality, there are more than 300 designated trades in Canada.

The demand and training programs differ across the country. In BC there are almost 100 different careers to choose from in a variety of fields, including aircraft technicians, landscapers, crane operators, mechanics, welders, hairstylists, bakers and much more. For some insight into the numerous, different types of jobs that are out there check out Trades Training BC’s A – Z listing of trades programs.

Start your training and earning while you’re in high school.

You can start building your future in the trades before you’re even out of high school (like some of the alumni mentioned above) and be earning more than minimum wage as an apprentice. Many post-secondary institutions create opportunities for youth to learn from skilled instructors and earn credits that count towards high school diplomas and Level 1 technical trades training. ITA’s Youth Train in Trades will help you find your opportunity to get a head start on your career.

Access grants to help you pay for school.

A lot of financial supports are specifically tailored for BC’s trades and apprenticeship programs. You could find help paying for your tuition or getting some funding during your apprentice training from the BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities, the Federal Government and WorkBC.

Earn higher wages.

The current minimum wage in BC is $13.85 an hour. It’s scheduled to increase to $15.20 an hour by June 1, 2021. Compare that to what a skilled tradesperson can earn, with starting wages averaging around $16 an hour for an entry-level position in carpentry, up to $57 an hour for a power system electrician, according to the BC Labour Market Outlook: 2019 Edition.

Tailor your career to fit your lifestyle.

With so many opportunities cropping up around the province for skilled tradespersons, it’s possible to work flexible hours that fit with your personal or family commitments. Other opportunities include travelling to many locations around BC if that interests you and opting for a physically active job outdoors instead of sitting in an office.


Skilled tradespeople have an exciting journey ahead of them. They are the workers building our future buildings, maintaining the infrastructure we need to live comfortable lives, and many are leading the way to finding sustainable energy solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change and global warming. To learn more, check out the Careers in trades guide by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and set yourself up for a successful career, and pay a visit to VIU’s Virtual Trades and Applied Technology Expo.

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