Simpro Talks: Trade Education &

How Join The Trades highlights jobs in skilled trades

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Once we’re past childhood, what was once a fun game of imagination can quickly become an awkward, anxiety-inducing conversation starter at the holiday dinner table.

Nicole Bass, founder of Join The Trades, plans to take some of the anxiety out of this question with her website to help young people learn about trade skills training and the jobs in skilled trades that might not otherwise have a clear-cut career path.

“There's a lot of sites out there that educate on the trades, but they're kind of clunky. They've got way too much information and it's not a great user experience. So we were really focused on making it as simple as possible,” Bass said. “Go to the site, clearly understand what options there are, and then dive in as deep as you want to learn about those trades and then be able to type in your zip code… to see what opportunities are around you to get started.”

Nicole was also inspired to start the site after growing up around family members who worked jobs in skilled trades and after building her own successful career in the trades.

“I was raised by tradespeople. My stepdad is a lineman, my dad's a landscaper, and my grandfather's a lineman. I started in the trades ten years ago in commercial HVAC as a sales rep. I sold maintenance contracts to big commercial facilities,” Bass said. “I worked for a contractor in Atlanta, Georgia, and I worked my way up from sales rep to sales manager to vice president of that organization. That company owned a training organization as well.”

After the owner sold the contracting company in Atlanta in 2019, they retained the job training organization Service Professional Group, a network of contractors across the United States., Canada and Puerto Rico, which Nicole leads today.

The idea to start Join The Trades also came from conversations with contractors and skilled workers in the Service Professional Group network.

“We work with several dozen contractors across North America and they all have the exact same problem of trying to recruit technicians. And for me,” Bass said, “ it blows my mind because these are high-earning careers. Once [you’re] a year or four or five years in, you're making six figures.”

In fact, according to our 2023 Voice of the Trades report, ‌ 63% of respondents said hiring and/or training was a major challenge for their trade business.

“How are these techs so happy making such good money, and these companies are [still] having a hard time finding new technicians,” said Bass. “That didn't add up to me. You would think they'd be really highly sought-after careers.”

Then Nicole decided to go where the young people are: TikTok

Nicole started making videos that spread the news about different types of trade skills training and trades jobs that young people may not even know exist. Her account exploded, gaining 80K followers from all types of trade work, commenting on her videos to validate her thoughts and chime in on the benefits of skilled trades training by sharing their own career success stories.

Nicole soon built up a database of people looking for more help and resources to get started in trades jobs from her TikTok videos. But Nicole quickly realized that there was a greater need for a place to connect trade companies trying to fill with people eager to start jobs in skilled trades. From there, Join the Trades was born.

Today the website features things like educational information on trade skills training, an assessment to discover which types of trades jobs might be best for each person, and of course, current job openings from employers looking to hire trades jobs in high demand. The best part? It’s 100% free for job seekers and low cost for employers that want to post jobs.

Nicole is excited to see how the website will continue to inspire conversation and education around the benefits of trades jobs and a career in the trades.

“I think the education on trades careers is about [educating] on what a great career path these are and how the average job satisfaction has shown to be much higher for tradespeople than it is for non-tradespeople,” Bass explains.

Educate on why a trades career is valuable and admirable for more than just because we need them. It's not about what ‘we’ need, it's about what they need as an individual, and this is a great path.”

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast episode above, or check out the full transcript below to hear more from Nicole.

Want to learn more about attracting and retaining skilled workers for trades jobs in high demand? Check out our blog for 5 things you can do to avoid losing field staff.

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