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Why Gen Z is exploring new avenues of Trade and Vocational Schools

trend of Trade and Vocational training

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked discussions about its impact on white-collar jobs and knowledge workers. However, it appears that the creative industry, which previously believed it would be immune to AI, is also experiencing the influence of non-sentient machines. As younger generations plan their higher education and career paths, the question arises: which professions and skill sets can withstand the next industrial revolution?

The reasons behind this

Recent data shows a decline in college enrolment among high school graduates aged 16 to 24. Factors contributing to this trend may include economic anxiety, student loan burdens, remote learning experiences during the pandemic, and shifting expectations about the value of a degree. Some members of Gen Z are turning away from traditional higher education and exploring trade schools and apprenticeships instead.

Trade jobs have long been seen as a backup option if a four-year degree doesn’t work out. However, there are financial benefits to working in a trade, such as lower training costs and the potential to enter the workforce with little to no student debt. Trade professions like electricians, chefs, commercial drivers, and telecommunications equipment technicians offer affordable training compared to bachelor’s degree programs.

To address labor gaps, some cities and states are investing in free or subsidized training programs. For example, New York City offers access to training in cable installation, medical billing, food services, and construction. Government-backed tools like Apprenticeship Finder also help match individuals with apprenticeship opportunities. Grants, loans, and scholarships are available for those pursuing trade careers as well.

While some fields may require a college degree for specialization, there are trade jobs that provide solid incomes and room for growth. Learning a trade can position individuals to own their own businesses, move up in managerial positions, and stay relevant in their industries with lower costs for staying up to date.

Higher education still holds value, particularly in specialized fields like healthcare. However, the return on investment for a college degree is often oversimplified. It’s important to consider factors such as student debt. While statistics show that those without a bachelor’s degree earn less on average, there are trade jobs that offer salaries comparable to bachelor’s degree holders with less debt.

It’s time to consider different options

As discussions continue on how to prepare for the influence of AI, it is crucial to consider alternative paths like trade and vocational education. These options can provide stability and opportunities for the younger generations to explore different career paths that may be protected against the advance of AI, at least for a while.

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