Did you know that choosing a bricklaying apprenticeship will put you financially ahead of a 3 Year Bachelor’s Degree by about $110,000 by your 3rd year? You will have earned a training wage while you learned a craft-based skill, plus your training fees are reimbursed by your employer and your tool costs are relatively minimal.
Meanwhile, the university student is paying fees upfront and relying on unskilled casual work to subsidise living expenses with no specific job prospect at the finish. In fact, the report referred to below states that it takes an average of 4.7 years for a uni grad to find full time work in their industry of study.
This information comes from comparative data from mid-2017 (but pre the recent 3.3% Award Wage Increase of July 2017) published in the newly released report from Y13, After the ATAR and ABBTF’s data on Bricklaying training rates. The year-by-year comparisons make the financial sense of the apprenticeship clear – see the table below. Even at the end of Year 3 of a potential four year apprenticeship, you’ve earned $88,000 while the uni. student owes $20,000, so you’re near $110,000 better off! Based on a 3 Year Apprenticeship, you’re $118,000 better off.
There is also a Trade Support Loan which can make a big difference in the first two years of the apprenticeship, if used correctly. The apprentice can opt out of the loan at any time and is usually done once wages increase after the second year. The Dept. of Human Services also provides income support to eligible apprentices which can increase wages significantly.
We included carpentry rates in the comparative graph below because it featured in the Y13 Report, but also to show the very little difference in bricklaying and carpentry apprenticeship pay rates. The trade you choose should be based firstly on what you enjoy doing.
Another major plus in choosing a trade compared to a degree is that the training and work leads you directly into your chosen field. The ATAR report states that 62% of uni students have considered dropping out during their course. That represents a lot of disenchantment and would be partly related to the broader range of subjects covered, many of which won’t directly relate to the student’s hoped-for career job.
Direct Comparison of Apprentice Pay Rates and Degree Costs – 30 June 2017 (pre 3.3% Award Wage Increase July 2017):
*Apprentice’s Employer reimburses training fees at TAFE or RTO within six months.
**Excludes daily travel allowance where applicable (Year 1 = $13.07, Year 2 = $14.82,
Year 3 = $15.69, Year 4 = $16.56).
Note: 1. Bricklaying Certificate III is a 3 or 4 Year competency based course. 2. Wages are shown as before Income Tax. 3. Pay rates are correct as of 30 June 2017.
After you complete your apprenticeship, you’re qualified throughout Australia and have a skill you can use anywhere in the world. You may stay with your current boss, look for another, sub-contract your services on your own, or you might take a gap year and travel. In the ATAR Report, a third of all students 15-18, when asked where they saw themselves in 5 years said “travelling the world”!
Whichever way you go, your apprenticeship is your ticket to advancement. With a few good years of bricklaying under your belt, you can consider other construction roles which will usually involve part time study. Comparisons of future possible pay for roles such as Foreman and Site Manager in your city/region can be calculated at Payscale or at Hays Salary Guide (Tip for using the Hays Guide: Insert as ‘current salary’ an amount you think might apply, in order to get a reading on average wages.)
I hope to bring you some more interesting facts from the report ‘After the ATAR’ very soon!