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Moose Jaw Express November 15, 2017

Skilled Trades Boost our Economy

The Saskatchewan economy is showing positive signs of recovering. According to the recent statistics, our unemployment rate improved from seven percent in October of 2016 to 5.9 percent this October, tied for third lowest in the country. Moose Jaw’s employment is up 4.8 per cent over last October, which is reason to be optimistic about economic growth for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

Skilled Trades and Technology are important entities as our economy improves. Saskatchewan recently celebrated Skilled Trades and Technology Week by recognizing the services provided by skilled tradespeople, highlighting the opportunities in this sector, and by encouraging young people to pursue a career in a trade right here in our home province.

Tradespeople are a tremendous asset to our everyday living. From the time we turn on the tap to brush our teeth in the morning, drive to work, get a haircut or purchase a meal, until we turn out the lights at night; all of these things require the work of skilled tradespersons.

The decade of growth in Saskatchewan wouldn’t have happened without construction workers, iron workers, crane operators, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, electricians and many others contributing their practical skills and knowledge. The past decade has seen unprecedented development of infrastructure; schools, hospitals and long-term care homes, highways and recreational facilities. We have so many reasons to celebrate the work of this important sector.

Collaboration and cooperation is necessary to make training available for these careers. We see a fine example of this in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission works closely with industry and post-secondary education institutions to train the right number of workers in a specific trade, with the right set of skills. Employers do their part in hiring and mentoring apprentices to develop those skills.

Moose Jaw has supported students in the trades and technology since 1959 when, what is now SaskPolytechnic, began as the Saskatchewan Technical Institute. Today, over 3,000 students attend the Moose Jaw campus of SaskPolytechnic. Many of these students come from other countries, then stay to live in and contribute to our communities. Saskatchewan Polytechnic works with the province and industry to provide the technical training and applied problem-solving that is needed to help drive economic growth in the province.

Students who excelled in their training, and recently became journeypersons in their trades were recognized at the Annual Apprenticeship Awards last month. Hosted by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission, the awards recognized the 34 individuals who achieved the highest marks on the journeyperson certification exam in their designated trades between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Congratulations to Jeremy Kusch, an industrial mechanic, and Adam Bakken, an instrumentation and control technician, both of Moose Jaw, for receiving the award in their respective trades.

Skilled Trades and Technology Week certainly highlighted the collaboration and coordination that takes place for economic and infrastructure growth, and the huge contribution of the tradespeople of our province. Skilled trades and technology will help keep Saskatchewan growing stronger than ever.