There is an article published by the Sunday Times that says new research by Worldskills shows that just one in four West Australians is looking at a career in trades:

Four out of five West Australians stated that a trade-based career was something that could be aspired to. Three quarters of respondents hadn’t considered trades-based careers even though there is a mining boom and some trades are making six figure salaries. Most young Australians believe that they have more career options with a university degree.

WorldSkills CEO Mark Callaghan said that jobs requiring vocational training were still experiencing a stigma. The misguided perception is that trades jobs are less valuable or less skilled. But Federal employment figures show that there is a serious shortage of skilled workers.

Comment by Fernando Ortiz:

It is always going to be a very hard choice for a young adult leaving or finishing school to decide what they are going to do for a job. A lot may depend on how well they have done at school and of course where their interests lie. Some young men and women know exactly what they want to do, be it a carpenter, hairdresser or doctor, and they enrol in the appropriate TAFE course or University course and they go ahead and do it.

I personally feel that if someone has a strong passion towards a certain career path that they should do that, irrespective of whether it pays well or not so well and irrespective of whether the Federal employment figures state that there may be an oversupply of people in your chosen field and an undersupply in a field that you are not remotely interested in.

A young person today leaving school at between 16-18 years of age will be, hopefully, in the workforce for around 50 years or more so they would want to do something that they will enjoy, if possible. Having said that young adults these days are no longer in one job or two for their entire life, they will probably have multiple jobs and even have multiple changes in their career paths-so it will not be as critical, I think, to get it absolutely right from the first career choice.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps a young person can quite easily do an apprenticeship as a chef, bricklayer or hairdresser and years down the track can still go to University and do a degree in something that hopefully both appeals to them and that helps them with a new career.

There are benefits and disadvantages in both starting off with either an apprenticeship or a degree. Importantly though, whichever path the school leaver takes, whether it be an apprenticeship or a degree- it is certainly a step in the right direction as it is their beginning of  tertiary education-which will benefit whoever finishes it-both financially in getting a better job, and in the life skills they will learn as well.

In conclusion I would like to say that it would be wise for young adults who are finishing school, who may not think of considering a trade course at TAFE, to give it some good thought as they may well do a degree which will take them 3-4 years to complete and not be able to get a job when they finish whilst if they chose an apprenticeship they will have a job while they are learning their trade.