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Trading Up

You have bounced out of bed before the alarm; the excitement of new horizons is greater than your need for sleep. You are ready. More ready for this than anything you have ever done before. It’s finally here. The day you start studying the Degree or Apprenticeship of your dreams.

You have survived the endless advice from your family, friends, teachers, and mentors. If you are heading to university it may be that people are questioning your choice of degree or university.

However, announcing that “I’m doing an Apprenticeship”, is often interpreted by the listener as “I’d like to be interrogated about why I’m not going to university”. For those of you smiling at that comment- read on!

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)1 in 2016 found that 77.6 per cent of apprentices and trainee graduates were employed after completion of their studies. For university graduates in 20152, measured in the four months post degree completion, only 68.8 per cent had found employment3.

According to the website Trade Risk4 the highest paid tradespeople in 2016 were those in the electrical field, earning on average $85,000.00. According to the website PayScale5, as at October 2016, the average wage for a Civil Engineer is $71,395.00.

Considering the higher rates of employment for apprentices, the ability to earn while they learn and not having to pay study fees, is an apprenticeship really that bad?

You can study at university, incur a large student debt, have a lower chance of finding employment and, when you do find employment, the wages you hoped for won’t be realised for quite some time. Or, you could follow your dream of getting a trade, earn a wage while learning your trade, have a better chance of finding employment and have a higher earning potential than your university counterparts.

The message here is not that apprenticeships are better than degrees. The message is that you should follow your passion. Research your options and choose the one that gets you bouncing out of bed every morning. Don’t make a choice on perceived financial rewards and employment prospects. Things are not always what they seem.

  1. https://www.ncver.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/62143/Total-VET-graduate-outcomes-2016.pdf
  2. Data for 2016 is not yet available
  3. http://www.graduatecareers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/GCA_GradStats_2015_FINAL.pdf
  4. https://www.traderisk.com.au/how-much-do-tradies-earn
  5. http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Attorney_%2f_Lawyer/Salary

All websites accessed on 6th February 2017.



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