AUSTRALIA and by definition Bendigo, is suffering from a shortage of skilled tradespeople.
In an understandable aspiration by parents, children are being pushed into so-called white collar professions at the expense of the hands-on roles.
Traditional trades, such as plumbers, electricians and the like are well-paid jobs in an industry which offers work. Sure, the workforce needs to include lawyers and office-bound trades, but the reality is we need people with hands on the tools too.
Education facilities in a bid to appear more attractive to parents are pushing their academic success rate. Why not, that’s the role of a school, but steering students away from the trades may not be best in the long run.
We hear of a shortage of students heading to STEM subjects, science technology education and maths, but this is being addressed to a certain extent with a push to actively interest students to those fields.
What is now needed is a rethink on how the hands-on trades are handled.
Australia is projected to have a shortage of pilots to the tune of around 640,000 by 2050, that’s a solid career to focus on, but without the engineers and associated trades to build the aircraft, perhaps the need will be short lived.
The same goes for many other aspects of Australian life.
There is, and will continue to be, a shortage of welders.
While it would not suit all, it’s a trade which is needed and pays well.
While students are being pushed to follow tertiary education into a career which may not exist in 20 years, those hands on trades are lacking.
Apprenticeships are at the heart of the learning process, and a welder could be trained and on the workforce by age 18.
Not all people are ripe for uni, and not all need to spend the associated learning fees.
A modified approach to employment could see a return to traditional trades being filled by people who are fit for certain jobs.
Some people are not cut out to be doctors, and some or not cut out to be welders, but we need people to fill the roles, not university and school quotas.