The Weight of Trade Qualifications


From my position and worldview, I think it is fair to say that the general belief is that trade qualifications are lesser than any qualifications received at a university level. This is baffling to me for many reasons. For one, many programs are only accessible after obtaining a university degree or are very difficult to get into without one, like chartered accountants, human resources, and policing.

What we fail to recognize as a society—and by society I mean parents, secondary school teachers and administrators, the ministry of education and even other tradespeople—is the process and value that a person gains by becoming a licensed journeyperson.

Person cutting hairPhoto by Maria Geller from Pexels

As I have said in past blog posts, we are desperately short on qualified tradespeople across all fields and this problem will only worsen. It is estimated that if we were to act on this problem now, we would only be looking at two generations of workers' to potentially turn this around.

"Tradespeople are highly skilled, educated and are deservedly equal in qualifications as those who chose university."

It is in my experience that the education system doesn't know how to turn this around. It is a slow, reactive bureaucracy that has made some short-term non-committal attempts at addressing this problem. I am sympathetic and this problem may be best handed over to those who are committed visionaries with the right experience.

But what do we do in the meantime?

I think that a fresh approach to post-secondary qualifications may be part of the answer. What if we started creating equivalents between trade qualifications and university degrees? Trade qualifications in some cases take as long or longer than undergraduate degrees to complete. 

If I look at my own development and level of continuing education throughout my career in bookkeeping, accounting, tax planning, business finance, marketing, human resources, technology, personal and leadership development, retail/merchandising, sales, technical development and enhancement, product development etc... At this point, I hold no degree, but no one can tell me that I would not be qualified for one.

This is a call to action.. We need to get busy and communicate to our institutions and make this shift happen.