Welcome to a dialogue that’s long overdue—a dialogue about the future of our workforce, our youth, and the skilled trades that keep our world running. If you think this conversation starts in high school, think again. The seeds of a fulfilling, lucrative career in skilled trades are best sown in childhood. This article explores why early exposure to skilled trades is crucial for building a robust future workforce. So let’s dive in.

The Crisis in Skilled Trades: More Than Just a Talent Gap

It’s an open secret that industries involving skilled trades are facing a significant shortage of young, talented individuals.

The demand for skilled labour in fields like crane operation, rigging, and hoisting is skyrocketing. Yet, young people are increasingly disinterested in these careers. Why? Often, trades are stigmatized as “less than” when, in reality, they offer competitive salaries and excellent quality of life. This isn’t just a gap; it’s a widening chasm threatening the backbone of our society.

Hands-on industry training

How to Bridge the Gap: More Than Just Education

Advocate for Early Education in Trades

Introducing trades in educational curricula can spark interest at a young age. It aligns with our core value of Innovation, as we seek to revolutionize how the industry attracts talent.

Partner with Educational Institutions

Collaborations with schools can lead to specialized programs that prepare students for these careers. This embodies our value of Preciseness, focusing on detail and customer experience.

Public Awareness Campaigns

Let’s debunk the myths surrounding trades. A public awareness campaign can highlight the benefits, aligning with our value of Integrity by being open and honest.

The Importance of Early Conversations: The Forgotten Dialogue

Early conversations about trades are often overlooked, yet they are crucial. They act as a compass, helping kids navigate their future—a concept that resonates with Bigfoots core values. These dialogues instill the value of Passion, encouraging kids to pursue their goals with strength and perseverance. The sooner we introduce the younger generation to these opportunities, the better equipped they’ll be to make informed decisions about their professional paths.

Why Early Talks Matter

  • Sets the stage for informed career choices: Early exposure can lead to a lifetime of informed decisions.
  • Addresses the widening gap: Engaging younger children can help fill the growing need for skilled workers.

Bigfoot Crane Academy’s Role: More Than Just a Training Academy, We’re Pioneers in Industry Training

At Bigfoot Crane Academy, we’re not content with just being another training facility. We’re industry leaders aiming to help the younger generation find their passion in skilled trades, leading the charge in reshaping how the industry attracts, trains, and retains talent. Our mission goes beyond the classroom; it extends into the very fabric of the skilled trades industry.

“Our approach is deeply rooted in our core values, particularly Caring and Balance” says Ralf Notheis, Manager of Bigfoot Crane Academy. “We care about each student as an individual, not just as a future employee.”

Bigfoot Crane Academy programs are designed to provide not only the technical skills needed for the job but also the life skills needed for a balanced, fulfilling career. We focus on the well-being of our students, ensuring they are prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically for the challenges and rewards of skilled trades.

This culture of Caring extends to our community and the environment, as we aim to be responsible stewards in all aspects of our business. We also strive for Balance, not just in work-life dynamics but also in the sustainable practices we instill in our training programs.

Moreover, our commitment to industry-leading training is fueled by our core value of Innovation. We’re constantly seeking ways to improve and update our training methods, incorporating the latest technologies and best practices to ensure our students are equipped for the jobs of tomorrow, not just today.

But it doesn’t stop there. We also aim to be leaders in fostering a positive, inclusive company culture. We want to show the younger generation what a work family truly looks like—a place where everyone is valued, respected, and given opportunities to grow. In doing so, we’re not just preparing them for a job; we’re preparing them for a fulfilling career in an environment they’ll love.

Bridging the Gap: From Comprehensive Training to Addressing Industry Needs

Navigating from the robust, innovative training programs at Bigfoot Crane Academy to the broader industry landscape, it becomes evident that the role of pioneering training institutions is pivotal in addressing the palpable gaps in the skilled trades sector. Our diverse range of programs, from Stiff Boom Training to Advanced Rigger Levels, not only equips individuals with the requisite skills but also strategically positions them to navigate through the industry’s demographic and operational challenges, such as those observed in British Columbia. The data discrepancies and the evident age skew in crane operators highlight a crucial need for targeted training and industry entry, ensuring that the future of skilled trades is not only secure but also dynamically aligned with the evolving industry demands and demographic shifts. Thus, the academy doesn’t merely serve as a launchpad for aspiring professionals but also as a strategic contributor to mitigating industry disparities, ensuring a sustainable, balanced future for the skilled trades sector.

Navigating the Data: A Closer Look at Crane Operators in British Columbia

British Columbia (B.C.) provides a compelling case study in understanding the demographics of crane operators, thanks to the detailed crane operator data maintained by the B.C. Association for Crane Safety. This association, responsible for overseeing crane operator certification in the province, reported a total of 9,727 operators holding at least one certification back in 2021.

A deeper dive into the age demographics reveals that 1,333 of these operators are aged 60 or above, 1,648 fall within the 50 to 59 age bracket, and the age of 1,650 operators is unknown. Notably, only 655 operators were in their 20s, highlighting a potential future shortfall as older operators retire.

However, these figures present a stark contrast when compared to the numbers from Statistics Canada, which counted 14,955 operators across the entire country in 2016. Furthermore, according to the Canadian government’s Job Bank website, there were 20,200 crane operators nationwide in 2018, with a median age of 42 and an average retirement age of 64.

The discrepancy in these figures, particularly between B.C.’s data and the national data, is notable considering B.C. has about one-seventh of Canada’s population. The Job Bank suggests that B.C. has only 2,100 crane operators, which is significantly less than the number reported by BC Crane Safety.

Clinton Connell, the executive director of BC Crane Safety, provides some insight into this discrepancy. He points out that the difference in figures between his association and the Canadian government may stem from how the federal government classifies the occupation. Specifically, Statistics Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for crane operators includes operators of large mobile cranes but omits operators of smaller, truck-mounted cranes, which constitute the majority of B.C.’s credentials.

Connell emphasizes, “It’s honestly overlooking the largest portion of the business, which is the commoditized side of crane operations — all the pickup and deliveries, the taxi service companies, and all the small-to-medium cranes.”

This data divergence underscores the importance of understanding and addressing the nuances within the skilled trades sector, ensuring that future workforce planning is based on accurate, comprehensive data.

From Data Insights to Proactive Solutions: The Imperative of Early Engagement

The demographic data from British Columbia paints a clear picture: there’s an impending gap in the skilled trades sector, especially in crane operations. With a significant portion of current operators nearing retirement and a limited influx of younger talent, the industry is at a crossroads. This looming challenge underscores the urgency of proactive measures. Enter the benefits of early exposure to trades. By initiating conversations about skilled trades with the younger generation, we’re not just addressing the immediate talent gap but also laying the foundation for a sustainable future in the industry. It’s a forward-thinking approach that not only addresses the current discrepancies highlighted by the data but also ensures that the next generation is well-equipped, passionate, and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities in the skilled trades sector.

The Benefits of Early Exposure to Trades: More Than Just Job Awareness

Early conversations don’t just open kids’ eyes to job opportunities; they help them discover their true passions. These early dialogues set the stage for a range of long-term benefits such as job security, career growth, and personal fulfillment. It’s about achieving a balanced life, a core value we hold dear. Here’s how:

Job Security: A Stable Future in Skilled Trades

In today’s volatile job market, the notion of job security seems almost archaic. However, skilled trades stand as a robust exception to this trend. Fields like crane operation, rigging, and hoisting are not just in demand; they are in high demand. As technology advances and infrastructure ages, the need for skilled labour in these areas is not diminishing—it’s growing.

This high demand translates directly into job security. Unlike other sectors that are susceptible to economic downturns or outsourcing, skilled trades provide essential services that are always in need. Whether it’s construction, electrical work, or specialized machinery operation, these jobs cannot be outsourced or easily automated. They require a level of skill and expertise that only trained individuals can provide.

This level of demand aligns perfectly with our core value of Caring. At Bigfoot Crane Academy, we’re not just training you for a job; we’re preparing you for a stable, long-lasting career. In a world where job security is becoming increasingly rare, skilled trades offer a beacon of stability.

Career Growth: The Sky’s the Limit

Skilled trades offer more than just a stable job; they provide a platform for a thriving career. The opportunities for advancement and specialization in these fields are not just numerous; they’re lucrative in terms of time, money, and personal growth.

Fast-Track to Advancement

Unlike many professions that require years of schooling before you can start climbing the career ladder, skilled trades often allow for quicker advancement. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training can lead to specialized roles in a relatively short amount of time, enabling you to progress in your career without the long wait.

Competitive Salaries and Benefits

The financial rewards in skilled trades are often underestimated. Many roles offer competitive salaries right from the start, and specialized skills can command even higher pay. As you advance in your career, the financial benefits can grow significantly, making it a lucrative long-term career choice.

Personal and Professional Development

Skilled trades offer a unique blend of hands-on work and problem-solving, providing ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. This aligns perfectly with our core value of Passion, as we encourage individuals to pursue their career goals with vigor and determination.

In summary, the career growth potential in skilled trades is not just immense; it’s rewarding in multiple dimensions. Whether you’re looking at the time it takes to advance, the financial benefits, or the opportunities for personal and professional development, skilled trades offer a lucrative and fulfilling career path.

Personal Fulfillment: More Than Just a Paycheck

Skilled trades often involve hands-on, tangible work. There’s a unique sense of accomplishment in seeing a project through from start to finish and there’s something uniquely satisfying about hands-on work that you can see and touch. Skilled trades often offer this level of personal fulfillment, providing a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to find in other fields. It embodies our core value of Preciseness, focusing on the details that lead to a job well done.

By fostering early conversations about skilled trades, we’re not just talking about immediate opportunities; we’re discussing long-term life benefits. It’s about shaping a future that’s secure, fulfilling, and ripe with opportunities for growth.

Your Thoughts Matter

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this critical issue. Do you think we should be engaging younger children in conversations about the trades? Your input can help shape the future of these industries and the educational systems that support them. We value open dialogue, aligning with our core value of Integrity.

The Time to Act is Now: Join Us in Shaping the Future

Ready to be part of the solution? Visit our Bigfoot Training Academy website to learn more about how you can make a difference. Let’s invest in our future by investing in our youth today. After all, the future starts with education and awareness.

At Bigfoot Crane Academy, we live our culture of Integrity, Passion, Innovation, Preciseness, Balance, and Caring every day. We aim to be an industry example of amazing company culture and show kids what a work family looks like. Join us in this mission. Together, we can build a brighter, more stable future for everyone.


Investing in our youth today is investing in our future. The future starts now, and it starts with education and awareness. Let’s take the initiative to engage children in meaningful conversations about the world of skilled trades.