The Future of Youth in the Trades
Although college is an excellent choice for many young people, there are plenty who would benefit by finding alternative paths. Racking up a load of debt for classes that you aren’t going to use in the future is not a wise strategy, and there are options for advancement that don’t require you to do so.
Although college is an excellent choice for many young people, there are plenty who would benefit by finding alternative paths. Racking up a load of debt for classes that you aren’t going to use in the future is not a wise strategy, and there are options for advancement that don’t require you to do so. With tuition costs rising steadily over the past decade, college may not be a viable path for many people. However, there is a feasible, reliable alternative — career exploration in the trades.
For many young people, pursuing a career in the trades may be a far more beneficial option. Despite the undeserved negative image that the trades have gotten over the years, there is a lot of opportunity to create a lucrative career path and move up in the ranks. Unfortunately, fewer young people are aware of this route, and many trades organizations are lamenting the fact that they are unable to attract new employees.
The good news is that there is really nowhere to go but up from here. With so many openings available and with college becoming unrealistic for many people, it is time to change the perception of a career in the trades and to encourage young people to consider it as a real option that can be just as profitable as a white-collar job.
Unwarranted Negative Perceptions
Over the years, blue-collar jobs have fallen victim to unnecessary disparagement from the general public. People see them as jobs that require little education and believe that they are hardly any better than minimum wage jobs.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most trades professions require specialized training and offer a realistic path towards financial security. In many cases, starting salaries for just several months of institutional training are higher than entry-level salaries for jobs that require four years of college. While the ceiling for compensation might not be as high, the path towards success is more easily followed and less susceptible to managerial oversight.
To address another point, not having a college education does not mean that a person is not intelligent. There are plenty of real-world applications for what you learn in the trades, and in some cases those who go to trade school have a better understanding of how the world works and how to fix everyday problems.
The image of a low-class, unskilled worker in the trades is one that is based on falsities, and it is time to shed that negative connotation. There is a place for every type of worker in the world, and the trades are extremely important in order for society to function at the most basic of levels.
How the Numbers Stack Up
Although a college education can lead to a successful career, there is no guarantee of that. In fact, only about 73% of recent college graduates are employed. Of workers who hold at least a bachelor’s degree, about 250,000 of them are working for minimum wage. This is hardly a good way to pay off the massive amount of debt that they have been saddled with.
For those who don’t see themselves pursuing a white-collar career after college, trade school may just be the way to go. The fees are far more manageable, and you won’t be strapped down by crippling debt. After gaining certification, you have an excellent chance of landing a full-time job that pays well-- quickly, you’re on your way to a fulfilling and lucrative career.
How to Encourage Young People to Pursue the Trades
As mentioned, many young people have a negative or non-existent perception of the trades because of societal norms and influence from their parents. This needs to be changed in order for the trades to start employing the young people that they so desperately need.
Parents need to encourage their children to pursue the jobs that they want, not that they think other people want them to perform. It is important to set realistic expectations for what one can expect from college and to let them determine whether or not it is the path that they want to take.
As a society, we must show our appreciation for tradesmen and the value that they perform. They perform the work that is needed to keep the world turning, safe and comfortable. Without career tradesmen and women, we wouldn’t have running water, electricity, air conditioning, or even roofs above our heads. Trades are the professions through which all others are able to thrive.
With college providing less of a return than it used to, we should be sure to tout the trades as a real option and as something to be proud of.
Although young people aren’t currently a major part of the trades, it seems that this is bound to change in the near future. People are realizing that college is not necessarily the only option for them and that they can go on to become skilled laborers in a profession that they may prefer to a desk job. There is a clear path towards a full-time job, and a lot of room for advancement when you opt for a career in the trades.