How long have you been working on site? One year? Five years? How about 10? Whether you are a plumber, sparky or panel beater, there is no doubt that you're an expert at what you do. But do you feel as confident off site as you do on?

What we're talking about here is adding value to your expertise with a business management course – allowing you to learn the tricks of the trade that aren’t normally associated with trade work.

More to the point, those in trade-based roles are expected to develop broader skillsets as their roles, and their industries, evolve with the times. Whether you're working as a sole trader or for someone else, it never hurts to diversify your career toolkit.

A prime example of this is the skills gaps highlighted by Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ). ESQ believe that today’s electrical workers require a broader skill set that is more in line with business and technological shifts than with current site needs.

What skills do I need?

The Queensland Government has outlined a broad set of competencies they think are required for small business success. We believe these skills are as applicable for running your own budding empire or climbing the ladder in an existing business:

  • General business – from marketing and customer relations to project management, the basics of good business can seem daunting but make all the difference when it comes to thriving in today’s trades sector.
  • Finance – taxes, BAS statements, cash flow, and valuing are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the skills expected to keep a business afloat.
  • Risk management – whether it's insurance, legislation or workplace health and safety, it never hurts to be on top of those areas of knowledge that can help pull you out of the fire when the worst should happen.
  • Human resources – whether you're looking to be promoted within a business or running your own, knowing how to manage others is important. It ensures you have the right people happily working in the right roles day in, day out.

How does this benefit me?

According to the Australian Journal for Labour Economics those working in select trades can earn more per week when they choose to work for themselves – this includes electrical trades and carpentry.

In other instances they can improve their position when they utilise off-site skills within an existing business - for example when taking on manger or production roles within a business. Sure the difference in average earnings are mostly marginal, but the potential for increased earning potential only goes up when you have the right skills.

Master Builders also support the idea of career building via additional skills and qualifications; given the benefits to either progression within a company or the increased capacity to support yourself as a sub-contractor.

The bigger picture

The World Economic Forum recently released a report titled The Future of Jobs in which they alluded to one simple fact: learning is good for your career. Regardless of whether you're a plumber, carpenter, hairdresser, or florist, to learn is to thrive.

Some of the skills suggested for those in construction, installation, and maintenance focused trades seem to circle back to those same business competencies outlined by the Queensland Government with a focus on relationship building and entrepreneurship.

Business management made easy

All sounding like a bit much? Don’t worry, making that leap and learning these skills isn’t going to be hard. With TAFE Queensland you can learn what you need to thrive in your business on your own time.

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