A Bigger, Better Toolkit

How long have you been working on site? 1 year? 5 years? How about 10? Whether you are a plumber, joiner or panel beater, there is no doubt that you are an expert at what it is you do. But this brings us to another question – do you feel as confident off site as you do on?

16 May 2016

What we are talking about here is adding value to your expertise via more business-centric training – those 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 are 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 believe that today’s electrical workers require a broader skillset 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 is 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 are 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 will business management courses benefit me?

According to the Australian Journal for Labour Economics those working in select trades can earn more per week if and 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, 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, new learning is good for your career. Regardless of whether you are a plumber, carpenter, hairdresser, florist or whatever else, 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.

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 Brisbane and the Small Business Toolbox, you can learn what you need to thrive in your business on your own time.

© TAFE Queensland Brisbane 2018.
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