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Technical Vocational Trades not University Higher education

Trades, vocational or technical training is becoming more attractive than higher education or university due to employment outcomes and higher salaries.

From the ABC News in Australia:

Proposed university fee rise causes rethink in value of learning a trade.  Researchers suggest learning a trade might be a better investment than university if the cost of obtaining a degree increases under the Federal Government’s plan to deregulate university fees.

Damian Oliver, who is a leading research analyst in the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney’s Business School, believes students are questioning whether it is worth all the money.

“I think there’s a real case to be made for increasing the information that’s made available to potential students about the value of certain qualifications and the state of the labour market,” he said, such as employment prospects for trades training and apprenticeships.


“I think that it’s a real potential advantage at having a vocational qualification rather than a university qualification at the moment,” he said.
With a shrinking number of stable full-time jobs, Dr Oliver said this generation of school leavers should be asking themselves whether a university education is cost-effective and whether a vocational qualification, such as a trade, might be a better investment.

“They’re often cheaper and lead to much stronger and more reliable labour market outcomes.”

Adding up the cost of a degree

A team of mathematicians from the Australian National University has come up with a online calculator that estimates the cost of a university degree post-deregulation.

According to their modelling, a three-year arts degree will leave graduates with a debt of $51,472 once interest is added and take 18 years to pay off. 

A four-year law degree would cost $119,783 including interest and take 30 years to pay off.  Then there is the challenge of finding a job.

One in four graduates are still looking for work four months after graduating.

By contrast, second-year apprentice plumber Zach Reznik already has a full-time job in his chosen field.

He earns the award wage of $28,000 a year while he learns his trade but he can expect that to more than double once he completes his four-year training.

“You’ve got to stick through the apprenticeship which is not as much pay as a tradesman but once you get to the end of it, you get rewarded,” Mr Reznik said.

Paul Naylor from the Master Plumbers Association of NSW said those rewards can be significant.

We hear about young lawyers going to work in law firms in the city and earning $50,000 a year as a first year graduate,” he said.

“A young plumber who has finished his four years and has gone to work for an employer and he’s really a good plumber, if he can’t earn $1,200 to $1,500 a week, he shouldn’t be there.”

That translates to more than $70,000 a year, easily beating the median starting salary for graduates of $52,000….’

Types of vocational, technical, trades or apprentice like vocational education and training courses in Melbourne include:

Certificate III in Carpentry

Certificate III in Cabinet Making

Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying

Certificate III in Glass and Glazing

Certificate III in Joinery

Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

Certificate III in Solid Plastering

Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining

Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling

Certificate IV in Furnishing Design and Technology

Certificate III in Engineering – Electrical/Electronics Trade

Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade

Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade.

For more information about low fee TAFE Training Apprenticeship for International Students see Information about Trades Training for Vocational Technical Occupations in Australia.  VET Vocational Education and Training is delivered in Australia by private or NGO Registered Training Organisations RTO and state Technical and Further Education Institutes or TAFE in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane Queensland.

For free information, career or employment study advice and application contact AIEC direct.

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