5 Reasons Why Trades Are Better Than University Degrees

Chances are, you’ve probably got a mate or two who spent four years at uni, only to move back in with their parents post-graduation because they couldn’t score a job. Their precious ‘piece of paper’ may be hung proudly on the wall, but that doesn’t erase the fact that at the end of the day, maybe they should have just gone with a trade… Do you feel us?

Sure, the world needs doctors, lawyers and pretentious Arts faculty graduates. But they also need chippies, brickies, sparkies and all the other skilled labourers that build Australia, from the ground up.

So why do we think learning a trade beats getting a degree?

certification vs university

Glowing job prospects

Five years ago, Australia was throwing jobs at people right, left and centre. Here’s to the mining boom. But now, times are markedly tougher. Given the nationwide skills shortage for almost every construction trade, learning to become a bricklayer, carpenter, boilermaker, tiler or electrician is a pretty damn lucrative option. If you’re good at what you do, you’re pretty much guaranteed to walk into a job after you complete your apprentice training. Chances are, you’ll probably score a position with the employer that trained you up in the first place.

Earn while you learn

Forget eating Mi Goreng and drinking goon bags on a Saturday night. As an apprentice tradie, you get paid for the hours you slog it out on site. Sure, you may not receive the same wages as your trained up counterparts, but think of it this way – you’re pretty much being paid to gain a qualification. That’s a lot more than uni students can claim, who earn themselves tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt. No thanks, we’ll take the Grill’d burgers and bottled craft beer any day. Wondering just how much you’ll rake in? The apprentice pay calculator operated by the Fair Work Ombudsman is a great resource.

tradie pay rate

Earn a mint

We love to harp on about the tradie ‘rich list’ because it’s hands down awesome. As a skilled labourer, you could earn up to $87.67 an hour, which is heaps more than the average lawyer. While degrees do help when it comes to scoring jobs with high salaries, an apprenticeship is definitely on par. Plus, you won’t need to spend the next 10 years or so repaying your university debt, which is a pretty huge bonus in itself.

Enjoy free time while it lasts

If you’re in the 18-25 age bracket, chances are you don’t want to spend what could be the best years of your life hunched over books in a library, studying for a degree that could turn out to be worthless. Instead, training as an apprentice lets you enjoy your free time, without the constant guilt that you should be studying. Yes, you work like a dog while you’re onsite. But when you clock off, that time is all yours. Hit the beach for an afternoon surf, say ‘yes’ to a weekend fishing trip with the lads, catch that all-important footy game, take out your girlfriend out for date night… We guarantee your mates will be green with envy.

Gain an internationally recognised qualification

Regardless of how many High Distinctions you get during a law degree, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s just not going to serve you very well in another country. Even the most experienced of lawyers still needs to spend years completing bridging courses in order to make their skills transferable. And the same goes for a host of other occupations. As a skilled labourer, you’ll gain an internationally recognised qualification that unlocks awesome global opportunities. Want to make cabinets in South America? No worries. Want to build bungalows in Bali? Sure. Dreaming of unclogging drains in Europe? Go for it.

Got any other reasons why training as a tradie runs circles around university degrees? Give us a shout in the comments section, we’d love to hear your input.