Dire warnings about a dearth of skilled trades workers are ringing hollow to apprentices who can’t find work in Newfoundland and Labrador.

They studied the trades to take advantage of the booming labour market.

But the reality has not been as advertised.

"I'm after calling around, nothing," Chantal Porter told CBC News. "Not an interview, not hiring or there's no work."

Porter trained as a welder. But she is an apprentice, and companies want fully trained journeypeople in her trade.


Candace Crane is losing hope that she will find work in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC)

"They’ve got to give us apprentices time to prove ourselves," she said. "What's going to happen in a few years, when all these journeypeople are retired?"

In the meantime, she is working jobs just over minimum wage to make ends meet.

Candace Crane bought into the hype about careers in skilled trades too. She trained as a welder, then as a pipefitter.

"Last time I counted it was like 227 resumes I had sent," Crane said. "I can't even count them anymore. It makes me too upset."

Like Porter, she can't get her foot in the door.

"For the whole time I was like, I'll find something, I'll find something, over and over again. But then it was about two months ago that I actually came to the realization that it's probably never going to happen for me."

She finds it ridiculous that she may have to go to Alberta to get experience when things are "apparently booming here in Newfoundland."

'Last time I counted it was like 227 resumes I had sent. I can't even count them anymore. It makes me too upset.'

—Candace Crane

Jody Rees is a welding instructor who runs a Facebook site for underemployed skilled trades apprentices in the province.

He suggests the ratio of journeyperson workers to apprentices be changed, to get more new people on the job.

"More work here would be nice," Rees said. "Maybe companies should be hiring more apprentices."