Giving Perceptions The Boot:
Closing the Skilled Trades Gap

Introducing students to the skilled trades

The Generation T era kicks off in Milford, MA with 150 high school students getting their first taste of the skilled trades while helping local dog shelters.

Articles and news segments crop up daily talking about the skills gap and the shortage of candidates to fill jobs that are critical to keeping society functioning. It’s a tremendous issue, and one Timberland PRO is working to help solve.

Part of the problem is the perception of the trades people carry. If you think about it, kids grow up fascinated by big machines, tools, and creating. From books like Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site to shows like Bob the Builder, kids are exposed to a favorable view of the skilled trades, but somewhere along the way, that celebration of work turns into an unfavorable view. Timberland PRO has set out to tackle the perception issue by doing three things:

1. Developing a marketing message that celebrates the trades. As a brand providing safety footwear and work apparel for the trades, we felt compelled to tackle this issue head-on. In fall 2018, we launched our campaign, Always Do. Never Done., which focuses on celebrating the people of the skilled labor force and showing them as the heroes they are…the people who make our world work. By showing the fantastic places and jobs these people do, we are looking to inspire the next generation of workers and also change perceptions about the doers of the world. In fall 2019, we have focused our message around celebrating the rebuilders who rebuild communities after natural disasters. The spot will be featured on national and addressable TV to hit a broader audience than the Timberland PRO consumer. To change perceptions about the trades, we are looking to cast a broad message about the incredible work skilled workers do – day in and day out.

2. Timberland PRO is supporting efforts to get more women into the trades. This is an effort we focused on and have maintained since fall 2017 when we launched a new collection of women’s safety footwear. We didn’t want only to market a footwear collection. Instead, we seized the opportunity to ignite a conversation about the low number of women in the trades. One aspect of our campaign, Made for Women Who Make, was a partnership we formed with Hard Hatted Woman, a feature-length documentary film, which highlights the barriers women face entering the construction trade. You can learn more about Hard Hatted Woman here. The film is due out in early 2020.

3. We are supporting efforts like Generation T where we can band together with other brands to help a movement to change the conversation about the trades. Collectively, we can put a spotlight on how vital the trades are and how they are a viable option to more traditional routes like four-year colleges and corporate jobs. Back in April we partnered with other supporters of Generation T and held an event in Milford, MA. You can check out the video here. We look forward to activating a similar event in October out in California. You can follow Timberland PRO on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.

The skills gap and changing the perception of the skilled trades is not a problem that will be solved overnight. But, we need to start somewhere to build momentum and create a wave of change.

Want to learn how your organization can do its part? Join Generation T and become a partner by signing the pledge to help bring awareness to the skilled trades. Click here and take the pledge. to learn more.