As students come to the end of the Initial learning phase of their life, the inevitable question arises: What’s next?

Since the reintroduction of student fees in the early 90’s, a university education has become an increasing burden for those who go down that path. Today we see students leaving university with huge debts, limited job prospects and smaller and smaller starting salaries.

With a shortage of skills in Australia and all the benefits that come with completing a trade, surely an apprenticeship would be a first choice to build a solid foundation for a successful career for those leaving school.


1/ Starting Salaries for Electricians are higher than Graduates. According to Grad Stats, the median annual starting salary for a new Australian resident bachelor degree graduates in full time employment in Australia was $60,000 in 2017. Given that most Graduates will finish a degree with a huge HECS Debt, this figure seems insignificant when you compare it to and 1st Year Qualified Electrician who can – according to Linkedin Research – expect a starting salary of approx.  $85,000 and can easily earn over $100,000 in their first year once Qualified.


2/ Electricians Graduate with no HECS debt. A University of Sydney Electrical Engineering Degree will cost you around $36,000 to complete full time. NECA Electrical Apprentices get paid to learn and graduate with no educational debt.


3/NECA Electrical Apprentice Outcomes are better than for Graduates. 99% of NECA Electrical Apprentices are offered full time employment immediately after graduating from an Apprenticeship. This is well above the expected outcomes for University graduates who – according to some reports – have only been able to achieve employment rates as low as 55.1%. In 2017, on average 28.2 % of undergraduates were NOT in full-time employment four months after completing their degree.


As students contemplate their future after graduating from high school, they will face a variety of options. As Universities push to fill spaces and meet financial goals, students should be wary not to fall into the trap of going down a path that leads to debt, lower salaries and uncertain career prospects