Natasha Bita’s column (‘Unis get the cold shoulder as the young turn to trades’ in ‘The Australian’ 29/6) shares good news on employment prioritisation to which younger people are now aspiring.

For decades, vocational education and trades training have been regarded as the poor cousin to academic degrees. The result has been a surfeit of people with academic qualifications and a dearth of those trained in key trades areas. While many university graduates have had difficulty in gaining employment suited to their graduating qualifications, Australia has had to rely on skilled labour from overseas to try and fill trades vacancies.

Many secondary schools now offer experiential trades learning opportunities, with studies that lead to undertaking apprenticeships. Schools and potential employers are sharing training partnerships which uplift the value and worth of trades study to students.

As Bita points out, these efforts are now bearing fruit. Hopefully the resurgence of interest in vocational and trades training will be satisfying to those who complete training. Boundless opportunities exist for those who are trades qualified. We certainly need to fill positions which have been vacant for far too long.


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