Manage your Trade with the Bachelor of Business Administration (Trades Management) program

Photo of two trades managers talking

By Emmett Steele ‘22

Mohawk College is launching a new 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration (Trades Management) program. The program is designed to help people working in skilled trades industries gain the skills required to move into management positions, start and run their own businesses or do a Masters or Ph.D. degree.

Laurence Smith, professor and program coordinator at the McKeil School of Business by Mohawk College, has helped to design the program. Smith has 12 years of experience working in the civil engineering industry and has taught at Mohawk College since 2005, having developed six new business programs in his time with the college.

“It's a new program geared to people in trades that are interested in business and the management of a business,” said Smith. “We noticed that there was a gap in the offerings of post-secondary degrees throughout Canada, and they were actually not offering our tradespeople the opportunity to move up.”

The program offers a pathway from skilled trades to a degree in management. “What employers are looking for in almost every industry is management; they're looking for people to come in and take management roles,” said Smith. “A lot of baby boomers who are in management are retiring, and employers want to have new managers who know the trade. They want managers to know how to manage the trade, the business, and to manage all the people that are working within their business.”

Learning doesn’t stop once you’ve finished your apprenticeship. Skilled tradespeople continue to learn and gain experience every single day that they’re on the job. Mohawk College recognizes the value of that experience and equates it to time spent learning in the classroom. “The main thing to keep in mind for people potentially coming into this program is that we use your career experience to credit courses for most of the first two years,” said Smith. “For example, you have communications knowledge from your time in the trade, knowledge of math and safety, and maybe a little bit of business knowledge. We’ll give you credits for equivalent courses in the program, except for bridging courses.”

Students with equivalent work experience are able to start in year two (semester 4) of the program. Bridging courses are meant to fill in knowledge gaps in basic management foundations so that all students start year three of the program with the same footing.

“Bridging courses are courses in which you’re likely to have no prior knowledge,” said Smith. “Macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting and principles of business management are the five bridging courses that everybody has to take.”

All courses in the program are offered completely online. Students can continue working in the skilled trades while completing their degree courses online. Students are generally expected to complete two courses per term, though there’s nothing stopping them from completing one or even six courses at the same time. The program is designed to be flexible and work with students' work schedules.

“We’re looking for people that are tradespeople and people with Red Seal or Gold Seal certification,” said Smith. “There are also people who have done a college trade program of some kind. They need to have those diplomas or certificates, plus they have to have a minimum of two years in a trade working specifically in that trade.”

Applications for the Bachelor of Business Administration (Trades Management) program are currently open. Visit to submit your application.