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Last week I counseled a young man who was bright but with little or no desire to go to university. He admitted that he did well at school but hours of study were not on his agenda. The testing showed that 8/10 careers were in the Realistic area , building, repairing working outdoors with Electrician, Carpenter, Auto-mechanic, Plumber in the top ten.

His mother was concerned that the lack of a university education would limit his career options. I tried to show her that university was not the only option. If you think outside of the box there are other viable options to explore.

It is drilled into our heads when we are young you have to go to university to get a good job. Without a college/university education, you are going to have to live at home for the rest of your life. It is not true., Do not think that you have to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher to have a well paid enjoyable career/life style. Yes, doctors/lawyers teaching careers have to have a university degree and if this is what you want then a university education is mandatory.

But, everyone should not go to university or college. If you want to make a great living, be your own boss, provide for your family and have enough to retire well and if you are entrepreneurial-consider the trades. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, heating/air conditioning technicians positions are always in demand, are fairly mobile and most important, pay well.

The trades donít require many years of expensive post secondary schooling. My favourite part of choosing a skilled trade: many of the best tradespeople go into business for themselves, in turn employing young people as apprenticeships for their companies.

I like entrepreneurs and I like trades as a vocation because you are still pursuing a higher education which is important but with your eyes wide open to the bigger picture. So if your son/daughter is going to university/college because all of their friends are doing it or because you, the parents, never went to university then you should stand back take a deep breath and contemplate what are the best choices.

If you are resisting a the vocational paths because of some misguided stigma against going into the trades, get over it. I have never met a plumber who was unemployed or earning minimum wage.

According to Statistics Canada numbers from 2010, skilled trades people earn an average wage that is 6% higher then other professions. There is also the dilemma to consider according to Careersintrades.ca that 70% of available jobs require some form of post-secondary education, but only 11% require a degree. The predictions indicates that Canada could be short a million skilled labourers by the year 2020.

In the end, the beat thing about the trades is they are creative. You are working with your hands, youíre making something tangible. If this lifestyle suits you, check it out.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com