Skilled trades shortages are growing as baby boomers retire and housing starts increase.

In response, government and industry representatives often set up booths overseas trying to attract trades to Canada.

However there is another solution right here in our community, that might inject thousands of students into the construction industry.

We have vast numbers of students pursuing university degrees majoring in the humanities and sciences.

These students also choose electives.

Many would enjoy practical electives in framing, welding and other skills.

These electives would offer a more well-rounded education, and provide employable skills during the summer and immediately after graduation.

These skills are transferable – construction offers good-paying jobs in every community across Canada. 

The students might even choose to pursue construction as a career.

We have trade schools and universities in our region with the expertise to teach the necessary skills, and young people willing and able to learn.

All we need is a flexible education system that accommodates our changing society and economy.

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This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.