Growing up we’re told finishing school, going to uni and getting a degree is the smart thing to do. We’re told anything else is for dropkicks and we make fun of those people. Tradies in particular cop heaps of flak.

Not only is this kind of thinking hurtful, it’s straight up incorrect. In reality, taking on a trade apprenticeship through vocational education and training (VET) comes with a load of advantages and going down this pathway can solve heaps of problems you might have when it comes to thinking about your future career.

From jobs booms to increased happiness and big money, these reasons prove tradies are more clued in than most of us.

1. Heaps of job opportunities in trades

Right now, there are heaps of jobs around the country that businesses are struggling to fill. The construction industry alone is expected to need 300,000 more workers over the next decade, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. There are simply not enough people with the right skills and qualifications to do the work, so doing an apprenticeship through VET puts you in a great position to get employed as soon as possible. In fact, 91% of trade apprenticeship graduates are employed after their training, plus fee-free apprenticeships mean there are no upfront costs to get a start in the industry.

2. There’s good money to be made

Qualified tradies are in line to score some of the highest paying jobs you can get – with or without a uni degree. Plus apprenticeships are fee-free and apprentices get paid to learn. In fact, in our research we’ve found that apprentices have the potential to come out nearly $150,000 ahead of university graduates when considering their potential earnings versus the standard cost of a degree. No HECS debt and money in the bank each week? Sounds like a smart choice, don’t you think?

3. Happiness + job satisfaction

We’ve talked before about how apprenticeships are among the best pathways in terms of happiness and wellbeing, but it’s also worth noting that these benefits carry over after they’ve completed their training.

Being a tradie means you lead an active lifestyle and most occupations require you to work on different jobs across a range of sites, giving you loads of variety. Plus, your trade qualification is recognised nationally so there’s the potential to travel if that’s your thing, or you could work for yourself or start your own business.

4. Trade jobs require skill and intelligence

There’s a really harmful belief throughout society that tradies are ‘dumb’ or that people only do a trade as a back-up when they suck at school, or when they don’t get into their first choice of career or uni course. Truth is, tradies do extremely skilled work that requires extensive training and knowledge to do effectively.

During an apprenticeship, a student essentially becomes an expert in their field, not only learning on the job from experienced staff but also learning the theory in the classroom while they work towards their qualification.

5. Their work is essential to society

Tradies do work that’s been crucial to humans throughout all of time, from coming up with plumbing systems to give us access to clean water to building structures that shelter us from the elements. Funnily enough, these things are still necessary for survival, and that’s why there’s a push to keep filling these jobs.

When it comes down to it, tradies do difficult work that society absolutely needs to keep going. And when you consider all the personal benefits that comes alongside doing a trade, it becomes super obvious they made the smart career choice.

Find out more about fee-free apprenticeships here and search through courses here.