Canadian Contractor

Opinion: young people are far less capable


February 27, 2020
By Rob Blackstien

A couple of weeks ago, we ran an article from Skills Ontario that aimed to debunk some of the myths about skilled trades. The article prompted a classic Questo rant, and now Peter Jerva has thrown his two cents in, suggesting that the real issue here is that today’s youth is simply not being given the basic training to use even simple tools.

I have worked in the communications field (Cable TV, Telco, security, PA, Data, etc.) for 40 years. For 30 years I have run our own business with much of it involving work in institutional and commercial environments. The women who have and do work for us have been as capable and in almost every instance more capable than their male counterparts. As a whole I find that young people are far less capable to work with their hands using basic hand tools.

I truly miss the days of “Industrial Arts” classes in elementary school and the lack of “Shop classes” in secondary schools. I believe that the perception that these programs are not good enough for some youth has left us with many young people that do not know how to use basic tools like screwdrivers and pliers to the point where tightening up a cupboard door requires the help of a “handyperson.”

I believe that the lack of exposure to some “skilled trade” basics has some amazingly talented youth without the guidance to develop a rewarding career in many trades.

What do you think, Contractor Nation? Is Peter onto something here? Are you finding that the younger generation is lacking in basic handyperson skills?


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1 Comment » for Opinion: young people are far less capable
  1. Marten says:

    Absolutely all day long. I have said the same thing for years. When I talk to my kids, all three of them I try to teach them how to do the simple things at least. They are all adults and learning how to use tools now. Want to make it simple? Take a one hour service call. For me it would be about $80, although I do need a two-hour minimum. Now take your wage, say $25/hr. for a starting salary. Take off deductions so your take home pay would be about $18.

    It will take you working four and a half hours to pay for me being there for one hour. Or with a two-hour minimum, you will work all day for me to be there for two hours. Anything you can do, even if it takes twice or three times as long, will save you lots of money in the long run.

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