Why are trade jobs increasingly popular options within students looking for work?


As a high school student in year 10, most people my age are looking for jobs in the hopes of starting the almighty quest of becoming an adult, but all around me I’m hearing my friends talk about “jumping on a trade” or “ going to TAFE ”


One in four kids in Australia are dropping out of school with the majority are dropping out to work. To legally do this they attend vocational schools such as

  • Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College
  • South Sydney college
  • Australian learning group
  • TAFE Sydney

These institutions are advertised at schools like mine (St Mary’s Cathedral College) as a great pathway if school isn’t for you.

In these advertisements, students are made to believe they will have the same qualifications as finishing year 12 simply WITHOUT an ATAR. 

Is this really the case? 

I mean, it may be true… but besides your area of expertise… what other skills do you develop?

When students work in hospitality or retail they learn;

  • Soft skills
  • People skills
  • Time management skills

All of which is CRUCIAL to the success of their career in the long term. 

Although this is obvious and students are constantly told that receiving their yr 12 certificate is an impressive qualification, why do they choose to drop out?

An entry-level retail assistant will earn an average of $49,632 per year…

Which is less than an apprentice electrician that earns an average of $55,624 per year…   

Therefore, the a seemingly fathomable answer could be that students want to make money and have job security.

What are the disadvantages of working in trade-based jobs?

Think about becoming an old man or woman after doing years of manual labour… stuff that, you may as well hire your own chiropractor and start doing yoga. 

45% of workplace injuries are caused by manual handling. It is estimated that manual handling injuries cost the Australian economy $28 billion every year. People don’t think about these risks when looking for work…now that is a problem.

If only kids knew this; you can be fit and healthy while sitting in your office chair having a cup of coffee in your coming future… The long term is not usually considered when looking for work as you can make your work environment what you want it to be, you don’t have to fit some sort of businessman stereotype, you can have the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger and be a successful businessman.

Jobs that offer people skills end up giving you so much more as you can move in any direction you want, some people may even finish a retail or hospitality job and move into a management position or a position that involves speaking to customers or clients in a trade company.

Education on qualifications.

Before a student drops out of high school to pursue a career in a trade, they should be educated on some of the disadvantages of not finishing high school and the path it takes to become successful in their chosen industry.

I believe some students aren’t educated on this and it can set them up for failure, therefore they should be told about the fact that finishing school can definitely be beneficial in the success of their career.

But back to the original question… Why? Why are students wanting to drop out or start working in a trade?

A lot of people can feel like they are being abused because of their age, and are being paid based on age, for example, the average teen is paid between $7-$20 per hour when you could be working in a trade position and be making double that.

People should be paid based on the work they do and how well they perform… not their age.

This is putting younger applicants in a bad position because they do not want to learn the labour involved in a hospitality job.

They want to learn how to talk to people and how to run a shop and how to be part of a team, not just stacking bloody boxes all day.

In my opinion, students should be incentivised into working in a job that teaches people skills by offering pay based on performance, they should also be educated on the disadvantages of not completing year 12.