by Lina Martinez

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It sounds like a relic of the past now, especially when we think that we are always within reach of a smartphone or a computer, especially in the workplace, but learning a trade, be it plumbing, welding, or construction doesn't seem very passé now. But in the modern day, does learning a trade provide more use, not just in society, but for ourselves? Let's address this.

The Demand For Skilled Trades

Because of computers being the predominant tool in the modern world, the labor market is crying out for skilled trade workers. What's happening now is that the older generations that knew nothing but the trade way of life are now retiring. The Baby Boomers are now hanging up their hard hats, and as a result, there is such a demand for skilled trades. From the perspective of someone looking for work, getting into a skilled trade can easily bypass the highly competitive nature of most modern jobs. When you look at what skills are required for even the most mundane of administrative jobs, it requires a lot of education.

It's A Cheaper Alternative To College

Because we are overqualified and underpaid, as people are still paying back their college tuition fees for decades after they've left, this is putting off the next generation from getting their diplomas. As a result, they’re looking for a career that doesn’t need the bar to be set so high. With the rise in apprentices, as well as the relative cheapness of trade schools, not only does it leave you with a qualification at the end of it, but you will have far less debt. For many people who go into college and study a niche subject, it would appear that they seldom end up in the career they envisioned.

The Perks Of This Career

A trade skill isn't just something that can help you fix problems around the house, but the perks of a career in trades are numerous. When you weigh this up in comparison to companies that predominantly rely on computers, the question will always arise as to if robots and automation will take over. Trade jobs, on the other hand, cannot be outsourced in the same way. Skilled manual labor, such as in the construction industry, will always be in demand. And yes, while robots and automation may infiltrate the industry at some point, it would be purely in a functional capacity, such as carrying equipment or automating things back at the office. And what we can take comfort in, as far as job security is concerned, is that in these types of industries there are sufficient ways to keep us protected from the elements. For freelancers that work as bloggers, marketers, or in any temporary capacity, sick pay is non-existent, but in organizations where you have unions, it's nice to know that someone's got your back. And even if you are involved in a construction accident leaving you unable to earn, the numerous resources out there that can help you reclaim financial compensation can keep you above water financially. And, let's not forget how lucrative these trades can be. We all complain about how much a plumber costs, but there's a very simple reason why they cost so much! So if you're looking for a career that's lucrative, skilled trades appear to be one of the few options available out there.

How It Provides Meaning And Balance To Life

Many people decide to work for a company, but when they become skilled enough and have the confidence to go it alone, this is when they set up their own business. Setting up your own trades company gives you the freedom, not just in terms of the hours you work, but the freedom to get the most from your life. Work-life balance is one of those oft-discussed topics now, and the general consensus is that it doesn't exist, unless you work for yourself! As with anybody working for themselves, there is a degree of risk, but when you're looking for a balance, this approach could provide that option. And let's not forget about the actual act of work itself. Many people clock in, clock out, and between the hours of 9 and 5, are mind-numbingly bored. Careers where you have to use your hands (as well as your mind) provide so much work satisfaction, where you are constantly engaged in tasks, not to mention the fact that you are meeting new people all the time, can add up to that feeling of contentment. Ultimately, you can feel that, at the end of the day, it's a job well done. This is very rare. People are chasing the idea of freedom in the working environments more so now, and this explains why so many people are choosing the freelance approach, but for skilled tradespeople, it's always been the best option. When we look at how many people are not so skilled with their hands anymore, who rely on people to do their dirty work for them, this is where learning a trade nowadays can pay off infinitely.

When people learn a trade, it's a skill they have for life, and it's not just something that benefits paying customers, but it's something that can be used in other areas of our lives, car mechanics being a very good example. And while so many of us are lacking in these essential skills, and we flit from job to job looking for the “perfect fit”, we may have severely neglected what a trade can do for us. It's not just a great skill, but it's a doorway to financial and emotional freedom. Such is the demand for skilled trades now, for the younger generations thinking about their career choices, it's hardly a surprise that there has been an influx in apprenticeships. And, lest we forget, that all-important idea of career progression appears to have disappeared now, but when you look at the projected state of the skilled trade labor market, growth and career progression appear to be very natural by-products!