Trades Careers Program

Meeting an Urgent Need

There is an urgent need for skilled trades professionals. The trades landscape has changed, with baby boomers reaching retirement age and new energies and technologies that require new skills. In addition, the high school graduation rate in Alberta remains at the bottom end of the national scale.

What if…

  • There were a better way to encourage high school students to pursue options in their schooling that would help them decide at an earlier age whether a career in the skilled trades is for them?
  • They had the chance to take courses designed to educate them in skilled trades areas in demand?
  • Students could learn from a real-life Red Seal journeyman at a world-class training facility?
  • Students could get training in what the real world is looking for, without the pressure of finding an employer?
  • Employers could hire students with a strong foundation in their chosen trade, reducing risk and improving safety performance?


In response to this need, TEPF, with support from Building Trades of Alberta and Alberta Education, created the Trades and Climate Change Education Program.

What is the Trades Careers Program?

The Trades Careers Program provides hands-on learning at an off-campus location in first-class facilities taught by red seal journeymen instructors in the construction trades. These single semester, 125-hour programs work uniquely for each school district and training facility, with the option to be tailored to a half-day or full day course.  The training is offered at fully equipped local Building Trades of Alberta union training facilities with a 12 to 18 students per class.

We launched a pilot project with the Calgary Board of Education in 2013 in partnership with The Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, Local 496, and expanded to Ironworkers Local 725 in Calgary in 2014. In spring of 2017, a dedicated Wind Turbine course was put on by Local 725 in Lethbridge.  The pilot projects have been extremely successful in job placements, resulting in nearly 75% of students enrolled now working as apprentices in their chosen trades.

Today, TEPF continues to deliver the Trades Careers program across Alberta while working to secure new locations and types of trades offered. We have expanded into Edmonton, and also launched our first Indigenous, on-reserve programs with Piikani and Paul Band First Nation. We have introduced Carpentry, Electrical, and even Culinary trade programs. With the support from our stakeholders, we will continue to look to expand into different markets with brand new trade careers.

Talk to us today about bringing Trades Careers education to your school.

Number of Student Dropouts Per Year in Alberta
Shortage of Skilled Trades Workers by 2025
Percent of Students in Pilot Program Currently Employed

Who benefits from this program?






How it works

As part of the solution to the skilled trades shortage, Building Trades of Alberta affiliates are providing the use of their world-class, multi-million dollar training facilities as well as the red seal journeymen trainers to educate students. Participating high schools will allow students who meet the following criteria to take the course:

  1. Grades 11 & 12 or 16 years or older
  2. Punctual, responsible and reliable
  3. Drug and alcohol free
  4. Meet the prerequisite requirements:
    • Completed HCS 3000, HCS 3010 and Construction Safety Training Systems [CSTS] (available through their high school)
    • Steel-toed boots
    • Provide their own transportation to and from the training facility
    • Provide consent from parent or guardian

Watch Brandon's Story

Brandon was not thriving in High School until he was introduced to the new Trades and Climate Change Program being delivered by TEPF. In partnership with Building Trades of Alberta, Workforce Development Trust and the Alberta Government, this program takes students off-site to first class Union facilities where they are taught by Red Seal Journeymen.

Thank you to our sponsors who support Trades Careers Education and its goals:

TEPF could not help as many students as it does without the continued support of our business partners. As a non-profit organization, TEPF prides itself on the strong relationships it develops with companies, organizations, and individuals, and serves as an essential link between their generosity and the students.