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Tradesman

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Tradesman

A tradesman, tradesperson or skilled tradesman refers to a worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, or formal vocational education, but not a bachelor's degree.

Contents

History

In Victorian England:

The terms "skilled worker," "craftsman," "artisan," and "tradesman" were used in senses that overlap. All describe people with specialized training in the skills needed for a particular kind of work. Some of them produced goods that they sold from their own premises (e.g., bootmakers, saddlers, hatmakers, jewelers, glassblowers); others (e.g., typesetters, bookbinders, wheelwrights) were employed to do one part of the production in a business that required a variety of skilled workers. Still others were factory hands who had become experts in some complex part of the process and could command high wages and steady employment. Skilled workers in the building trades (e.g., carpenters, masons, plumbers, painters, plasterers, glaziers) were also referred to by one or another of these terms."

One study of Caversham, New Zealand at the turn of the century notes that a skilled trade was considered a trade that required an apprenticeship to entry. Skilled tradesmen worked either in traditional handicraft workshops or newer factories that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. Traditional handicraft roles included, for example: "sail-maker, candle-maker, cooper, jappaner, lapidary and taxidermist, canister-maker, furrier, cap-maker, dobbin-maker, french-polisher, baker, miller, brewer, confectioner, watch-maker, tinsmith, glazier, maltster, wood-turner, saddler, shipwright, scale-maker, engraver and cutler."

Modern use and list of skilled trades

Tradesmen are contrasted with unskilled workers (laborers), agricultural workers, and professionals (those in the learned professions). Skilled tradesmen are distinguished:

  • from unskilled workers (e.g., laborers) in that the unskilled workers "rely heavily on physical exertion" while those in the skilled trades rely on "specific knowledge, skills, and abilities." Both types of work, however, are considered blue-collar.
  • from professionals in that the professionals have a higher duty of care and routinely make decisions "on the basis of expertise and ability in complex situations where there may be no, or little, previous history."
  • There is no definitive list of modern skilled trades, as definitions vary, with some lists being broader than others.

    A June 2013 report by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, however, generated the following list of trades (divided into industrial, construction, and service skilled trades), along with their Standard Occupational Classification System code:

    Earnings and social standing

    A British study found that, after taking student loan repayments into account, a higher apprenticeship (at level 5 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework, equivalent to a foundation degree) delivered higher lifetime median earnings than a degree from a university outside the Russell Group. Despite this, polling for the report found that apprenticeships have a lower perceived value than bachelor's degrees.

    According to data released from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, lists the wages and expected job openings of skilled trades with educational requirements ranging from an associate degree to a high school diploma.

    References

    Tradesman Wikipedia