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What’s behind the trades labour shortage? An Okanagan perspective

Vernon business helping train the next generation in skilled trades
Ted Fox Jr., owner of Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical. For home service call 1-833-793-4569.

A massive shortage of skilled labour in the trades has gripped British Columbia for more than a decade.

“The current population of trades workers are aging out and retiring faster than new workers are entering the force,” explains Ted Fox, owner of Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical in Vernon.

While some workers did join the industry during the pandemic when they lost jobs in other sectors, it hasn’t been enough to keep up with demand — especially with big infrastructure investments across the province.

“At Fox we recognized early that the skilled labour shortage wasn’t going away, so we’ve spent the last ten years working on solutions. We work with and train new people into the trades, and have developed our own training academy to help the industry — and our community as a whole,” Fox says.

Rewarding, exciting lifelong careers

In an uncertain time, the trades are an extremely exciting place to start a career that will last a lifetime.

“Great wages, unbeatable job satisfaction, and no student loan debts are just a few of countless reasons a career in the trades are so appealing to both today’s youth and those looking for a new career path,” Fox says.

High school students can start preparing by taking the appropriate Grade 11 and 12 courses, but more and more workers in their 20s and 30s are eager to make a career change as well. An out-dated training system had made it difficult for those workers to upgrade or prove they had the appropriate prerequisites, but that’s changing. Leaders like Fox and other companies across the province are doing their part to make skilled trades more accessible.

“If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about what a career in the trades can look like, reach out to us here at Fox for more info, or visit They’re a not for profit organization dedicated to educating and helping those interested in this bright future,” Fox says.

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The Fox ‘Wrap a Van for a Cause’ contest is back! Nominations are now open in the annual Charity Van contest. The winning charity or non-profit organization will receive a cash donation from Fox, plus one of their service vans will be wrapped in the charity’s branding in 2023. Learn more at Voting begins Nov. 28, so get your nominations in quick!

For home maintenance tips and exclusive savings, visit or follow them on Facebook. Call 1-833-793-4569 to request service for plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical issues, or schedule service online.