Trade schools were bringing in extraordinary numbers of students before the Covid-19 crisis hit them. In fact, 2020 was expected to be one of the best years ever, for them. Last fall, everyone thought the numbers would go back up, and yet they went down again by 10%.
Recessions usually means more students for trade schools
If we look back at previous recessions, all of them have been helpful for trade schools to register a higher number of new students. That is why everyone expected the fall session of 2020 to see a record number of students joining in. However, that wasn’t the case. In fact, it saw a reduction of 10% of its students total.
One of the explanations being looked at to comprehend why there weren’t more people back in front of a school welding machine, or learning how to repair a car motor, is that the population that normally heads to trade school, was one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus crisis (low income). The fact that you need to be in class to really learn a trade also kept students away, at least those who were still afraid to catch the virus by going to school.
Trade schools and remote learning
To learn a trade online, although it is possible, will never be the same as if you are in a class, with a teacher who can adjust the movements that you make while using a particular tool. No matter how hard teachers tried to find the right way to help their students through the internet, it never was the same as if they were right in front of them. Since it was mandatory to keep students at home, for many different periods of the year, they had to adapt, nonetheless.
But there is another side to trade schools that is even more complicated by the coronavirus crisis, and that is internships and apprenticeships. In many cases, those simply had to be postponed, until the end of the new sanitary rules that were in place. Therefore, all the energy was placed on theory classes. But there is only so much that can be taught that way, and many students simply had to wait for the reopening of campuses so that they could complete their degree.
Going back to a more normal way of life should be a blessing for trade schools. But with the uncertainty still up in the air, it remains to be seen what 2021 will look like, in terms of numbers of students enrolling in the end.
The need for skilled workers keeps on increasing
The fact that trade schools are not gaining much traction right now is not good news either for the economy in general. That’s because even before the Covid-19 crisis hit us hard, there weren’t enough specialised workers in many fields to fill the jobs that were available to them. Welders are a great example of this statistic. In France, 30% of the companies that were looking for a welder did not find one throughout the whole of 2019.
Such a situation is unique for specialised workers who have some business sense into them. In fact, why would you want to work in one job, where you always do the same actions and get a fixed income, when you can work as a freelance? This opportunity enables the worker to augment is knowledge by varying the jobs he takes. That turns into more money, since he becomes a versatile tool that can be utilised on many different construction sites. In other words, the less specialised workers come out of school, the lesser amount will be available for companies who need them.