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skilled trade

A skilled trade is a range of jobs that require similar training, tools and have similar risks. In building these are most advanced and ancient, dating back to ancient Babylon with the first organized guild of masons, led by Hammurabi. The history of the regulation of trades is coincident with that of written law itself. For instance, Hammurabi's legal code required that anyone who build a house that fell in on its owner, would be put to death. Today's trades typically do not suffer any such strict liability, but there are penalties for those who practice trades without credentials, e.g. a "trade ticket".

organizing and training


Very often trade unions organize skilled tradespeople for mutual benefit and often to encourage best practice exchange, typically by organizing trade education. Some organize in guilds which have more formal control and powers over instructional capital. In Canada the Carpenter's Brotherhood is among the most organized and has become heavily involved in ethical investing of its own pension fund.

In Canada there is a skilled trade shortage and more high school graduates are choosing to attend community college in addition to, or instead of, a university. There are also increasingly formal online courses available. Another innovation is the emphasis on portfolio learning where each student builds up a set of unique creations worthy of showing an employer. The Nova Scotia Community College system was the first in Canada to require portfolios in each and every program.

new trades


The rise of green building has extended trades that already existed, for instance, requiring electricians to understand DC power and home automation systems. It has also given rise to new trades such as home energy conservation, sparked by federal funds from EnerGuide. New building techniques such as earth homes and straw bale are also giving rise to new practices changing the existing trades.

The Efficient Civics Guild has advocated new sustainable trades starting with signal infrastructure, and focusing specifically on the clusters of dependencies in complex electronics and automation systems. For instance, the BACnet protocol used in office and factory systems and increasingly applicable to the home, and wiki best practices for e-government, and other aspects of quality management in government. Among other innovations they have outlined what it means "to green" network systems:
And to identify people who have mastered these skills, e.g. the ECG Master status.

Similar efforts are underway in government itself, e.g. the Government of Canada initiated what they call the "greening of government operations" in the Canadian federal budget, 2005, and the Service Canada initiative to modify organization protocols of government.

temporary credentials for emergencies


Some lobbyists and advocates would go further, e.g. the Civic Efficiency Group, in an open letter to the Finance Minister shortly before that budget was released, urged federal support for a radical overhaul of muncipal role in emergency response in anticipation of major challenges and disasters such as a pandemic, in which centralized response would be impossible.
Unless the signals-related skilled trades and medical professionals and first responders were all tightly coordinated and acting as a team, they argued, without direction from Emergency Management Ontario or other centralized agency, they would not be able to function effectively in a crisis where such "centres" were overwhelmed, and be totally unable to exploit the resources of community emergency response teams, religious institutions, immigrant professionals without full credentials, and others who may be required to intervene in a crisis. Such efforts may require temporary credentials to be issued that are good for the duration of a crisis, that would free fully credentialled people for the most central and critical tasks such as triage.

This model comes from Efficient Civics Guild which originated the idea of distrust metrics which justify imposing the ECG Master fiat to end a debate that otherwise may regress forever.