Dec 18, 2017

The understated trade career

The understated trade career Parents need to be aware of the opportunity in trades careers

There’s a new push for school leavers to choose trades as a career option with peak industry bodies saying they get a bad rap.

It seems the problem starts with parents.

According to recent research1., four in five Australian parents (79%) want their kids to go to uni after leaving school, rather than do an apprenticeship.

Australia was desperate for more skilled workers said Colin Fitzpatrick, who’s both CEO of the Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA) and TABMA Apprentices and Trainees.

“There are thousands of great and rewarding jobs out there that don’t require a degree, with well-paying, upwardly mobile careers,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“And given the rising cost of formal education, a traineeship is a far more cost-effective training option.”

Most Vocational Education & Training (VET) students get priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment, while earning good money, making it easier for them to find relevant employment at the end of their studies.

TABMA Apprentices and Trainees employs apprentices and trainees in hundreds of vocations and specialises in placing them within the timber, construction, forestry, furnishing and manufacturing industries across Australia.

These are sophisticated industries at the cutting-edge of innovation, with sustainable forest management programs, advanced robotic precision manufacturing, biomaterials, engineered/cross-laminated timbers and more, all with exciting job prospects, said Mr Fitzgerald.

And when it came to employability, money and earning potential, the trade option also often comes out on top, he said.

Of 2014’s apprentice and trainee graduates, 84.1 per cent were employed after completion2. By comparison, just 68.8 per cent of university graduates from the same year looking for full-time work found it within four months3. And the median full-time income for a (VET) graduate is often substantially more than that of a uni graduate4.


The VET sector currently provides training courses for nine out of 10 occupations predicted to have the greatest growth of new jobs over the next five years5.

The top trades experiencing skills shortages in Australia in 2017 6 are:

  • Bricklayer
  • Stonemason
  • Painters
  • Glaziers
  • Fibrous plasterer
  • Solid plasterer
  • Roof, wall and floor tilers
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic
  • Baker
  • Pastry cook
  • Butcher
  • Arborist
  • Hairdresser
  • Automotive electrician
  • Motor mechanics
  • Sheetmetal trades worker
  • Panelbeater
  • Vehicle painter
  • Locksmith

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