Tradies to Become First Class Graduates from Secondary Education

“They are dirty, sometimes smelly and quite often very noisy”.

Believe it or not this was a comment from someone during a street-side interview on television recently!

For far too long society has held the view that anyone who graduates from high school and becomes a tradesman is regarded as a second class outcome and therefore they (including the author) are second class citizens.

Yes, you guessed it, the first class outcomes are those who graduate from high school and go to university. After all isn’t that what going to Year 12 is all about?

Somewhere back there, about thirty years ago, we completely lost the ‘educational plot’ and somehow brainwashed everyone to believe that Year 12 + University Education = Success. Therefore, Year 12 + Trade Training must = Failure? That’s right, that’s exactly how we all felt and how we are still treated.

Let me give you some facts which might surprise you:

• Electricians now need Maths B to at least B+ level in Year 12 to even be competitive in an apprenticeship interview.

• Car Mechanics are now called Automotive Technicians and will generally do a 4 year Apprenticeship which will include Auto Electrics and then will qualify with 2 trades. Their training includes extensive computer/electronics studies.

• Builders these days face extremely complex codes and regulations which are a part of their Trade Training (so that your house doesn’t fall down).

• Chefs must undertake at least 5 – 10 years training and experience and pass through at least six levels of Cookery before being recognised as a Chef.

These are just a few examples of us second class citizens who actually keep the country running.

No wonder we have mounting skill shortages. I have counselled students and their parents who have been in a quandary as to what their sons and daughters should do when faced with the dilemma of choosing a career.

So what is a Career? Is that taking up a Trade? So what is a Vocation? And what is a Profession?

Did you know that Airline Pilots are not classified as a Profession? No, apparently they are under the same classification as a Train Driver and why not I say.

What a crazy situation we have created for our children leaving school. If I finish Year 12 and want to become a Baker, or Butcher or House Painter is this going to be okay? Will Mum and Dad be angry? Will they let me?

No wonder we have no Tradesmen left!

As a result of chronic and growing skill shortages in Australia, Tradies are about to become First Class Graduates and First Class Citizens.


Ralph Hunter

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About Inwork International

In Work International trades globally in skilled people and was formed by the founding and Managing Director of In Work, Ralph Hunter. In Work was established when Ralph Hunter identified a number of critical needs in the employment and training industry that were not being met by Government agencies. Commencing in 1997, In Work has been actively involved in servicing these needs to help individuals sustain long term employment.

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