New Government Action Desperately Needed To Promote The Trades

Tradesperson champion is calling on the next government to encourage young people to consider a career in the skilled trades as the UK faces a crisis due to skills shortages – and has pointed out just how lucrative it can be.

GCSE exam season is well underway and young Brits are considering their next steps. Many students are currently encouraged by schools to head into further education and university rather than considering trades as a viable career prospect. Currently, the trades are not promoted as an option despite the fact there is a pressing need for more skilled workers, while other professions may be threatened by the rise of AI.

This can lead to many young people choosing to study non-vocational subjects at university, racking up crippling debts (£45,000 on average) and then struggling to find jobs. Many who do find work discover that their degree is not relevant.

During the last King’s Speech, King Charles acknowledged this issue, highlighting that the government must focus on implementing proposals to ‘reduce the number of young people studying poor quality university degrees and increase the number undertaking high-quality apprenticeships’.


No careers advice

Recent research revealed that only one in ten (13 per cent) students had been told about the skilled trades as a potential career choice. This is despite the fact the UK is facing a nationwide trades shortage, predicted to cost the UK economy £98bn in missed GDP growth opportunities by 2030.


Better than a doctor

Research from (a trades for hire site) also showed that many parents are recognising the opportunity in this industry, with 15 per cent of parents stating they would like their children to be in a skilled trade – making this the most desirable choice over occupations such as doctors, dentists or lawyers.

Meanwhile, those studying a trade can often be established by their early 20s, fully qualifiedand earning a good wage. They also rarely have significant student debt due to obtaining apprenticeships and learning on the job. Salaries range depending on the trade but are generally comparable to many managerial positions and offer the potential to offer six figures should the tradesperson be self-employed. In fact, entry-level roles post-qualification are often highly paid and can exceed the salary for those jobs that are traditionally seen as well-paid.


Graduate salaries:

  • Banking £29,755.
  • Marketing £29,715.
  • Education & Teaching £22,700.
  • Public Sector £25,988.
  • Accounting £27,460.
  • Engineering £27,920.
  • Sales £28,140.
  • Computing & IT £28,146.


Entry-level trades:

  • Entry-level Plumber £28,533.
  • Entry-level Electrician £29,999.
  • Entry-level Landscaper £23,000.
  • Entry-level Carpenter £29,539

Andy Simms from believes it is time for working in trades to be seen as the desirable career. He says: “There are so many reasons that our tradespeople love their careers. Job security is likely to be assured for them with the current shortfall in skilled trades, predicted to reach 250,000 by 2030.

“It’s also not threatened by the rise of artificial intelligence, allows you to begin earning as soon as you begin – and by your mid-20s you can be making significant money without any student debt.

“Working in the skilled trades gives great opportunities to be self-employed, which although can be very hard work, can offer flexible working hours and a fantastic work/life balance.

“While university is of course a fantastic choice for some, it’s not a perfect fit for others. It is time the government guided schools to be promoting the trades as an exciting and impressive career choice.”


Picture: Tradespeople are very happy they took that career path and would like to see more young people following their example.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
27th June 2024


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