Why Learning a Trade Could Be the Best Career Move You’ll Ever Make

James Norvill
3 min readApr 18, 2023
James Norvill in a J Plant Mercedes Tipper

As a businessman and entrepreneur based in South Wales, I have run multiple businesses over the years, including a plant hire business called J Plant and a company that provides precast concrete products and ready mix concrete called Platinum Products. One thing that I’ve noticed during my time in business is the difficulty in finding staff who are skilled in trades. That’s why I believe that learning a trade is an excellent career choice for anyone who is willing to put in the hard work and dedication required to succeed.

Recently, I appeared in a South Wales Argus article where I expressed my frustration about the misconceptions surrounding careers in trades. Some people think that trades are low-paying, menial jobs, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tradespeople are highly skilled professionals who play a vital role in our economy, and they are in high demand. The UK government has identified a skills gap in many trades, and there are plenty of job opportunities available for people who are willing to learn.

An apprenticeship is an excellent way to start a career in a trade. It’s a structured programme that combines on-the-job training with classroom-based learning, allowing you to gain hands-on experience while also learning the theory behind the trade. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of trades, from construction and engineering to hairdressing and hospitality. They are open to anyone over the age of 16, regardless of your educational background.

One of the biggest advantages of doing an apprenticeship is that you’ll be earning a salary while you learn. The minimum wage for an apprentice is currently £5.28 per hour, but many employers pay more than this. As you progress through your apprenticeship, your pay will increase, and by the time you’ve completed your training, you could be earning a decent wage.

Photo by Maxime Agnelli on Unsplash

Another advantage of doing an apprenticeship is that you’ll be gaining valuable work experience. Many employers prefer to hire people who have already worked in the industry, so having an apprenticeship on your CV will make you stand out from other candidates. You’ll also be building a network of contacts in your industry, which could be useful in the future when you’re looking for work or starting your own business.

To find an apprenticeship, you can start by looking on the government’s apprenticeship website. This site lists all the apprenticeships available in the UK, and you can search by location, industry, and level. You can also speak to your local college or training provider, who may be able to help you find an apprenticeship.

If you’re considering an apprenticeship, it’s essential to choose the right trade for you. Think about what you enjoy doing and what skills you have. Do you enjoy working with your hands? Are you good at problem-solving? Do you have a keen eye for detail? These are all skills that are highly valued in many trades.

Learning a trade isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to put in the hard work and dedication required, it can be an excellent career choice. As someone who runs multiple businesses and knows first-hand the value of skilled tradespeople, I can’t stress enough how important it is for young people to consider this option. There are plenty of job opportunities out there for people who are willing to learn a trade, so why not give it a go?

If you’d like to learn more about my businesses and the importance of tradespeople in today’s economy, please visit my website at jamesnorvill.co.uk.

The UK government’s apprenticeship website is at apprenticeships.gov.uk.

And you can read my article in the South Wales Argus at https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/careersandeducation/if-i-hear-my-future-is-stacking-shelves-once-more-i-may-scream/ar-AA15bV1Q.

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James Norvill
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Businessman and Entrepreneur, powerboat pilot and famous for building the world's fastest skip. jamesnorvill.co.uk