Take on the Trades

Upgrading the Trades for a 21st Century Workforce

Connecting FPDI’s audiences to its valuable campaign with a new visual identity system and tagline

The Story

As the labour market ages and many baby boomers begin to retire, almost every industry is facing a new dilemma: a worker shortage. For the trades, AI isn’t going to solve a worker shortage, they need actual people with the skills to fix your homes, construct buildings and keep our infrastructure running. But attracting new folks into a heavily white male dominated industry can be a challenge. It’s why First Peoples’ Development Inc. (FPDI) connected with Brandish to launch a campaign to attract new talent and upgrade the trades — to a more diverse and worker-ready industry.

The Problem

With a new grant from the federal government, FPDI was mandated to achieve 5600 hires in two years, with 1900 being required to be from equity-deserving audiences. The program is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses hire first-year apprentices by providing financial incentives to employers. Apprentices who don’t have an employer after their first year have a higher rate of leaving the program, and enrollment of equity-deserving audiences is quite low. The campaign needed to speak to both employers and prospective apprentices in a way that outlined the advantages of the trades (especially to new audiences) and how hiring a level-1 apprentice benefits both the employer and the apprentice.

Our Insights

The trades industry is levelling up, shifting into jobs that require more training and the use of advanced technology. However, a drop in enrollments during COVID has made the shortage even more acute, so organizations have begun to be creative in recruiting equity-deserving groups. Opportunities exist to highlight how work in the trades can be both technical and hands-on and also provide stable, meaningful work with a high income. For employers, many are finding it harder to attract talented candidates and are often unsure of the process and how it can benefit their organizations.

Our Solution

To connect the campaign to two different audiences, we had to create a tagline that could both encourage SMEs to hire trades, as well as encourage prospective candidates to become an apprentice through a call to action. “Take on the Trades” creates a call to action for prospective apprentices, while dually calling on employers to take on the tradespeople who need training. By customizing each tagline to specific venues, we created a campaign that spoke to the right audience in the right venue with the right message. For employers, messaging about the financial benefits and how to find support in hiring, and for employees, how a career in the trades provides financial independence and a chance to participate in projects that move our world forward.

The Impact

Over the three-month campaign, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of searches for the campaign and program, with organic search spiking 300% and our campaign drove people to our landing page — increasing FPDI's website traffic by 9000%. We also saw results, as FPDI has now disbursed over 5 million dollars, supporting over 700 applications, including 300 from equity-deserving groups. With Take on the Trades, FPDI is meeting the challenge with Take on the Trades, creating a more diverse trades industry, one where everyone can feel welcomed.



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