The Forgotten Trades

ISACNT has a strong focus on hearing evidence from NT business about hard to fill jobs and jobs in demand.  People take very diverse career pathways and share interesting stories about their line of work.  I learnt something really interesting when talking to an NT business that offers a range of upholstery services including Classic Car interiors, boats, motorbike seats, canvas tarpaulins and shade sails.


“The work is so varied, being a small business, we don’t just focus on one thing. The trade is broken up into three apprenticeships – Upholstery, Motor Trimming and Sail Making. Unfortunately, there is no trade school in Darwin, which limits the exposure. But there are so many opportunities – you could travel the world with this trade” says Top End Upholsterers & Motor Trimmers owner Treena Riches. 

Treena told me her husband Andy, was ridiculed by his mates training to be electricians or fitters as he navigated his way through an upholstery apprenticeship.  Now, those mates are coming to him to get a new tonneau cover for the ute, replace the bimini on the run-about or get a new shade sail to cover the back veranda.  Who’s laughing now huh?

Being confronted with my own bias got me thinking about other trades; the not so well-known trades that aren’t fashionable or in the news or get a bad rap.  Trades are a skill for life; a job you can always fall back on.

Take my sister for example; she wanted to work in childcare but wasn’t old enough at the time.  Instead she applied for a traineeship in Aged Care.  She wasn’t keen at first, but when she realised it could open doors to working around Australia in that occupation, she applied, got the job and the rest is history.

We are an ageing population and we are going to need more of these trained professionals!

Many of us don’t know what we want to do for the rest of our life but we do know what we do and don’t like.  Even at High School age.  While VET training seems to have lost its’ popularity and certain occupations may seem daggy, they can be extremely fulfilling. 

Based on some straight-forward questions the “Job Clusters Quiz” is a different way to look at the types of jobs and industries that will meet our interpersonal needs and preferences.  Take a look at it HERE and don’t be afraid to buck the trend.  Not all school leavers belong in Higher Education!

For more information about apprenticeships and traineeships in the NT contact GNT Group – Australian Apprenticeships Support Network