NEW: 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 (formerly the Trade and Climate Change Program) 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.

In 2020 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 program at the Piikani Reserve. 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.

The founding partner of the Trades Careers Program is the Building Trades of Alberta. Thank you Building Trades of Alberta for believing in youth and supporting skilled trades education in Alberta.

10000Number of Student Dropouts Per Year in Alberta

45000Shortage of Skilled Trades Workers by 2025

71Percent of Students in Pilot Program Currently Employed

Who will benefit from this program?


  • A unique and outstanding student learning experience
  • Opportunity to explore the possibility of apprenticeships in the trades
  • Summer job placements for successful candidates through the Registered Apprenticeship Program
  • Work ready for full time employment


  • No cost to schools for an exceptional trade education for their students
  • An expanded offering of post-secondary options for their students in trades education and careers
  • Potential to increase high school graduation rates


  • Contributes to a diversified, strong and sustainable workforce
  • Potential to reduce costs on the social system
  • Keeps a larger portion of the money spent in the construction industry in Alberta


  • Will help build a local, diverse and highly skilled workforce
  • Large cost savings being able to hire local talent versus foreign worker
  • Lowering the initial entry age going into a trades profession will help secure a vibrant, long-lasting local workforce


Students in successful careers become valuable, contributing members of society

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:
    1. Completed HCS 3000, HCS 3010 and Construction Safety Training Systems [CSTS] (available through their high school)
    2. Steel-toed boots
    3. Provide their own transportation to and from the training facility
    4. Provide consent from parent or guardian

Why do we need the
Trades Careers Program?

This program was created in response to school needs, student needs and province-wide employment needs as follows:

  1. It addresses the critical need for skilled tradespeople. Baby boomers are retiring at three times the rate of people entering the workforce, which will result in a predicted shortage of 45,000 skilled trades people by 2025. Companies will struggle to hire local skilled trades people to meet this shortfall.
  2. It fills the projected labour needs locally. A local skilled workforce provides billions of dollars of value to the local economy versus a workforce from elsewhere. Money made by a workforce who lives here in Alberta has a better chance of staying in Alberta than a workforce who is only here temporarily.
  3. Every year there are nearly 10,000 drop outs from high school in Alberta.
  4. Currently, the average first year apprentice age in the construction trades in Alberta is 27. By providing choices for students to have access to trades educational programs while in school, it can help them make a career decision earlier, saving time and money.
  5. Skilled trades work is often overlooked as a viable, respected, career option for many students as they contemplate their choices while in high school. Teaching students these skills in high school increases the chance that certain students will remain engaged and will finish their studies to earn their high school diploma. In turn, this increases the chance of them moving on to college to pursue their schooling through apprenticeship.
  6. High schools across the province are constantly reducing and re-examining their budgets. Historically, this has resulted in less funding for trade/shop classes, shop closures and teachers reaching out to the private sector for donations to provide materials and consumables for the classes that remain open. Expert instructors can be costly, forcing schools to resort to less expensive options.
  7. There is an opportunity to close the gender gap in trades – skilled trades in the construction industry are typically seen as male-oriented professions and females typically do not see these careers as realistic for them.

My last semester of high school is coming to an end, the months pass so quickly because I love what I am doing. Graduation is coming up in less than two weeks and I'll be graduated and working full time by June 17th and I don't feel the stress to get life together as I know I'll be ready for a life time career. On behalf of the CBE and the Local 496 I would like to say a grateful thank you for the experience you have offered me, and all the students of the future who may be my co-workers or union members. I have offered my time to share the opportunity I was given and accomplished, because I want future generations of students to know about this experience. I would like to thank the Local 496 for introducing students to a real world training experience that will be guaranteed to lead to a career opportunity. "

James Fowler high School

The good people at The Educational Partnership Foundation are compassionate and hardworking and strongly support programs like the Piikani Introduction to Trades Program. Our partnership with TEPF makes important programs like these possible. We at Ironworkers Local 725 feel that bringing trades training to first nation communities is a very important endeavor. Achieving Journeyperson status in a trade is an amazing accomplishment that comes with a lifetime of employability as well as pride. "


Ironworkers Local 725 Apprenticeship Coordinator/Trainer


“In the last three years Cody has come out of his shell. He has for the first time become involved in his school and participates in extracurricular activities. Cody now enjoys learning, has no struggles with going to school and is able to advocate for himself due to the confidence that the Ironworkers and RAP have given him. Cody has never been so happy and excited about his future. Thanks to RAP, Cody is on track to completing High School early and is counting down the days till he has accomplished this so he can return to work full time.."

Mother of a Student in the Program

For more information on Trades and Climate Change Education, please contact Barb Simic  at 403-437-8373 or

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

Interested in supporting Trades and Climate Change Education?