Recently qualified sparkies are supposedly taking home £1,500 a week

Great news: tradesmen can earn up to six times the average wage!

Take the news with a pinch of salt though: it’s according to the Daily Mail.

In her most recent ‘Sarah Vine’, journalist Sarah Vine gave the good news that many “electricians, plumbers and plasterers are among the highest-paid workers in the country, with some earning more than £150,000 a year.”

We are sure that many people will greet the news with smug satisfaction, particularly newly-qualified sparkies who “can easily make £1,500 a week.”
Ok, we’re being harsh. Still, it’s no big shocker that tradies can earn a lot more than some people might think. According to the National Careers Service website, for example, a carpenter can earn over £40,000 a year, while an electrician can earn over £42,000.

Still, Sarah’s piece is empowering, if a bit weirdly sexist.

“There was a time, of course, when every home had its own live-in handyman,” she wrote. “He was known as ‘the husband’. The quality of the work wasn’t always perfect, and he did require a certain amount of nagging and strong tea; but it at least meant that a blocked sink or a broken Hoover wasn’t the end of the world.

“But most modern husbands, mine included, are far more likely to be found building a LEGO Death Star spaceship at the weekend with the children than repointing the garden wall.

“Hence the rising salaries in the manual labour market — and the boom in websites such as Task-Rabbit, where helpless wives can find handymen for all sorts of niggling jobs, from fixing a wobbly shelf to sorting out a patch of damp.”

Umm, perhaps? She does also make the fair point, however, that far more people are opting for university educations these days, rather than learning a trade.

“Since the Eighties, governments have embraced unquestioningly the notion of expanding university provision. In 2002, Tony Blair promised to get half of all young people into university and numbers have risen steadily ever since.”

It’s true that trade skills are extremely valuable to have, especially once you leave home.

It’s also true that it is important to let young people know about the potential that comes with entering a trade profession. Responding to internet-pariah Hetty Douglas’s mocking post on four of its workers, GKR Scaffolding said: "Our scaffolders have worked as part of construction teams that built The Shard, are reconstructing Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium, and renovating The Royal Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall.”

Well Sarah Vine, it’s absolutely true that children should aspire to “plumbers, builders and electricians”, or, indeed, anything they want to be. We live in an age where kids can grow up to pursue university or make an enviable wage as a trade professional.

Surely that’s a win-win?

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