January 27, 2004
Union joins call for more people to go into trades
The country’s largest trade union is endorsing calls by the Tertiary Education Commission for more young people to consider trade training instead of going to university.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that young people could find trade careers which were challenging, satisfying, financially rewarding and in global demand.
“A modern tradesperson is a highly trained, skilled person who can find well-paid work in just about any part of the world,” he said.
Mr Little, a commissioner with the Tertiary Education Commission, said that young people might be surprised by the money tradespeople could earn.
“Jobs as lawyers and in IT are often presented as the sexy jobs, but the real opportunities are in the trades,” he said.
“For example, a graduate leaving university might earn between $25,000 and $37,000 a year, but an apprentice coming out of his or her time can earn $45,000 or $50,000,” he said.
“And that’s just the beginning; experienced tradespeople earn more, with a good toolmaker making $70,000 a year , a top printer $85,000, maintenance tradespeople like electricians and fitters working in big plants $70,000, or even $100,000 a year. And they get paid while they’re training.”