It may be controversial, but are Gen Y too lazy to be tradies?

14 August 2015

Are Generation Y too lazy?

The young have received some strikingly bad press lately, with many people going so far as to say that Generation Y are just too lazy to be tradies.

Government statistics have shown that the number of young people commencing trades has dropped by almost a quarter in the past 5 years. That coupled with an industry cancellation rate of more than 50% means that Australia will have a hard time fulfilling the predicted 300,000 construction jobs needed over the next decade to support the construction boom.

Some people blame the lack of commitment to after school employment in preparing youth for the workforce. Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that school and university students are less likely to pick up part time work while they’re studying, with only 31 per cent of 15 to 19-year-old students employed.

Although we at MIGAS are aware of the fact that fewer people are interested in trade opportunities compared to previous years, it’s important to note that education has shifted its focus away from supporting trade training in favour of promoting the benefits and importance of higher education through university. Often, our valued vocational trade pathways are left behind for the students who are “good with their hands, not with their minds”.

This is a shame. Research shows that trade careers are some of the most lucrative careers out there! Your local domestic electrician 1 year out of finishing their apprenticeship earns on average $1,400 a week, before tax. Compared with your average graduate who earns just $1,200 a week, before tax (and has a HELP debt repayment to make on top of this).

MIGAS works hard to promote trade pathways as viable employment opportunities for youth; and it shows. Our apprentices and trainees achieve a completion rate much higher than the industry standard. This can be attributed to our tried and tested recruitment methods (we recruit for ability, chemistry and experience), but of equal significance is the round the clock support our Field Officers give to our apprentices, trainees and host employers that see our apprentices and trainees through to completion of their trade.

Our School-based Trainee/Apprentice program helps youth adequately prepare for the workforce prior to leaving school; and the host employers who work with MIGAS to provide this service are rewarded with committed, productive and inducted first year apprentices and trainees, when they transition into a full time placement following completion of year 12. Our efforts to engage students at a year 10 to 11 level mean that we can make recommendations to schools and young people about the required entry standards for industry and host employers, better preparing them for trade careers.

Do you think Gen Y are too lazy to be tradies or is this a bad rap?

We would love to hear your comments and experiences - tell us on the MIGAS Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Image credit: Ashley Webb via Flickr

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