The message from the trades sector is clear: We need you.
The industry push to ensure more young people are considering trade careers is spread across every platform, in a multitude of different formats. In a time when our youth are told they can do anything and be whoever they want to be, it is a daunting task trying to decide just which road is the right one. So, when run in conjunction with government initiative Mana in Mahi-Strength in Work , it’s no surprise these advertising campaigns are making an impression.
In recent years we have seen the trades industry push the benefits and realities of an alternative to traditionally academic training options . Looking to change the impression that trades are no more than a plan b option for those of us unable to become surgeons and lawyers. The recent The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)  ‘A Tricky Chat’  campaign spoke directly to parents, with the intention of helping them recognise the benefits of a Trade qualification, as opposed to an academic one.
With parental opinion influencing students career decisions by up to 80% , it makes sense to target the marketing directly at Mum and Dad.
“We felt the best way to actually try and change the mind-set around the trades is to not necessarily go to the school kids, but go to their parents and go to their teachers, because they are the ones that point their children in the direction they think is best for them.”BCITO’s chief executive, Warwick Quinn for Newshub 
The Tricky Chat campaign ran across multiple platforms including TV and social media websites most popular with people likely to have children about to leave High School; YouTube and Facebook . The campaign aimed to show the old-fashioned thinking some parents still hold on to when it comes to their kids’ education. In one video the father is seen visibly shaken by his son’s decision to become a tradie, and the mother can be heard stating “it’s probably just a faze”.
The campaign makes light of the situation and plays on a ‘coming out’ type scenario throughout. It is entertaining, while also informative. The campaign is relatively recent and is still running, but initial reports from the creative shop responsible for the work, EightyOne , certainly indicate an increase in people open to a career in the trades .
So, it appears to be a successful campaign for the trades sector, but it also speaks to a deeper issue. Trade careers have historically been seen as lesser. The pathway of high school dropouts and the lower class. Less of a career option and more ‘just a job’. And although a career in the Arts cannot be accused of being ‘just a job’, it can be categorised similarly to the trades sector in that many parents still see it as a fall back option, and not something that can or should be relied upon as the focus of career aspirations. In fact, it could be said that the Arts sector is now viewed as an even less attractive option than the trades.
Where is the industry wide advertising campaign for the Arts and Media sector? The government funding to help young people gain their Fine Arts or Design degrees? The sad reality is that we still have a way to go as a society when it comes to recognising that creative careers are an integral part of our world, and that not everyone can or should be lawyers. What a bland and uninspiring life we would lead if everyone within the creative sector gave up and became accountants. How miserable our creatives would be stuck in a profession they have no passion for. I beseech all parents to switch their focus. Encourage your kids to make smart choices, of course, but encourage them also to do what they love.
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom”Vincent Van Gogh