Unlock Your Inner Potential: Strategies for Personal Growth Working in Skilled Trades
Skilled trades are vital to the economy, and the people working in these fields require personal and professional development strategies to unleash their untapped potential. The personal development industry has long been focused on entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives, often overlooking those in the trades. But as our society faces a shortage of skilled tradespeople, now is the time to focus on unlocking the potential of this important segment of the workforce. In this blog post, we will explore strategies for personal growth and development for those working in skilled trades.
The Current State of Skilled Trades
Skilled trades have been an important part of the workforce for centuries, and they remain so today. In the United States alone, there are nearly 11 million people employed in skilled trade jobs, which account for about 7.5% of total employment. These jobs include electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters, and HVAC technicians, among others.
Despite their importance, skilled trades are largely understaffed. According to a report by the National Electrical Contractors Association, nearly two-thirds of electrical contractors have trouble finding qualified skilled trade workers. A survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that 60% of construction firms are struggling to fill hourly craft positions, and nearly one-third reported turning down work due to understaffing.
The skilled trades shortage is not limited to the United States. In Canada, nearly 40% of skilled trade workers are over the age of 50, and only 6% are under age 24. The United Kingdom is expected to experience a shortfall of 1.8 million skilled workers by 2025, according to the Construction Industry Training Board.
The shortage of skilled tradespeople is expected to exacerbate in the coming years as many workers in these fields approach retirement age, and new apprenticeship programs fail to fill the gap. In response, it is essential to unlock the potential of those currently working in skilled trades to meet the demands of a rapidly changing economy.
Personal Growth and Development Strategies for Skilled Trades
Personal and professional development is a lifelong process, and those working in skilled trades must embrace it to keep pace with technological advancements and shifting economic demands. Here are some strategies to unlock your inner potential as a skilled tradesperson:
1) Pursue Continuing Education
Education doesn’t stop at high school or technical school. Personal development is a journey of lifelong learning. Continuing education is a critical element in the personal and professional growth of skilled tradespeople. You can improve your skills and knowledge by taking classes, attending workshops, and obtaining certifications.
Most electrical and plumbing licenses require continuing education to maintain your license. Furthermore, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and International Code Council (ICC) offer seminars and education courses annually to help licensed electricians and plumbers stay up-to-date on code changes and best practices. Anyone working in other trades can look into apprenticeship programs or journeymen certification courses at vocational schools.
Continuing education is a win-win for skilled tradespeople and their employers. Employers often prefer employees who have regular training, as it keeps them up-to-date with the latest best practices, safety requirements, and technology advancements. Therefore, make a habit of pursuing continuing educational opportunities regularly.
2) Learn New Technologies
The world is changing rapidly, and this is evident in the tools and technologies used in skilled trades. New technologies are more efficient and faster, and it is wise to keep up with the technological advancements to become a valuable asset in the industry.
One technological advancement that is disrupting the skilled trades industry is the advent of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These technologies are revolutionizing the way skilled tradespeople work, collaborate, and train. For instance, AR technology provides an augmented view of customer locations and allows a tradesperson to overlay virtual images on top of the real world while troubleshooting a problem. Technology like this streamlines problem-solving and cuts back on wasted time traveling from site to site, making your business more competitive and efficient.
3) Apply Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is an essential skill that anyone working in skilled trades needs. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a problem, evaluate evidence, and develop solutions. It is useful in problem-solving, decision-making, and innovation.
A skilled tradesman should always work to understand a problem before jumping right into fixing it. Use critical thinking skills to analyze the problem, and find the root cause. A deeper understanding of the issue will lead to faster and more effective problem-solving. Furthermore, critical thinking leads to innovation in working methods, better communication with customers, and higher-quality work.
Networking is critical in any industry. The saying that “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is particularly true in the skilled trades industry. Through networking, you will meet professionals who are more experienced and have more responsibility, and they might help open new doors for you. Furthermore, networking creates opportunities to discover new projects, gain referrals, and share knowledge within the industry.
There are many ways to network, including joining professional organizations, attending industry events, participating in online forums, reaching out to colleagues and competitors for lunch or coffee, and collaborating with other tradespeople on job sites.
Skilled trades are essential to the economy, and there is a shortage of qualified workers which demands personal and professional development strategies to unlock the untapped potential of skilled tradespeople. Pursuing continuing education, adapting to new technologies, applying critical thinking, and networking are all strategies to enhance your personal growth and maximize your potential. Thus, more people entering the skilled trades must focus on lifelong learning and developing their skills, employers must prioritize training, and stakeholders must make bigger investments in apprenticeship programs to prevent further shortages in the skilled trade workforce.