‘Got a Trade? Got it Made!’ is what it’s called, and that pretty much sums up the campaign to get more young people into the trades and services industries.
New Zealand is crying out for more skilled trades and services workers as the housing, hospitality, tourism, retail, engineering and travel sectors – just to name a few – grow rapidly.
So, if you’ve got a trade, you’ve certainly got it made when it comes to the chance to build a long career, earn good money, transfer skills overseas or to another industry, or maybe start a business.
‘Got a Trade? Got it Made!’ is a group of eight industry training organisations (ITOs) representing a range of sectors from construction and engineering, to hairdressing and baking. They have come together to collectively change perceptions about the trades and services industries - pooling their resources and pushing the message throughout the country by visiting schools and workplaces.
Together the ITOs represent more than 120,000 on-the-job learners, more than 50,000 employers in more than 140 industries, and cover 70% of New Zealand’s employable population.
“There is still a perception that university is the best option for a career because there is a clear pathway from high school to university and then the workplace,” says ‘Got a Trade? Got it Made!’ chairman Andrew Robertson.
“But we are trying to open the curtains and show what career opportunities are available for young people in a trade or service, and show that they don’t have to go to university to be successful.”
Only 28% of high school graduates go on to university – 72% do not.
“Therefore we believe trades and services should be considered a Plan A pathway, alongside university, and an equal career alternative for young people.”
The campaign is in its second year, and while it has focused largely on the main centres, there are plans to extend its reach next year and beyond.
In Taranaki, in support of the campaign, more than 3000 young people have this year been exposed to trades and services options through the Taranaki Careers Expo, at which Workchoice speakers offered advice and information, and bus tours have been made to construction sites by BCITO.
Spotswood College (l) and Francis Douglas (r) students are "warmed up" prior to Taranaki Careers Expo
“Over the course of the campaign we’ve seen real interest in trades and services – our website traffic has surged, we’ve had inquiries to the website almost every minute from a wide range of people, and the ITOs are having more conversations with people interested in taking up a trade or service career,” Andrew says.
“It’s really exciting. There are a lot of options out there for young people.”