[Opinion]: University or Learn a Trade in Ghana

Jemima has completed her senior high education. She is a very good student who has a passion for fashion designing but feels there’s too much to it. She wouldn’t mind going to the university as well and is torn between the two. What decision would she make, that will do right by her? 

This has been the problem for many students out there who desperately need career guidance. We are not in normal times, there are no more jobs and the cost of living has become very high, so it is important to choose a path that can guarantee you comfortability and stable finance in the future when things could get even tougher.

Each of these career paths has its merits, and of course, demerits. Knowing these and weighing both of them, while looking into your interest and passion will help you make the right decisions. So what is it would you like to do? Get into a trade? Fashion designing, hairdressing, auto engineering e.t.c, or go to school (get a profession), become a teacher, a banker, get into public relations or become a nurse?


Let us first look at the advantages of going to school. Education is everything, now and before. If you’re educated, there’s an ‘intelligent’ tag that comes with you. You get respect everywhere you go. There’s financial stability, should you get a good job after school, and this depends on the course you did at school. It is important to make sure you chase a job that corresponds to the course you did at school. 

Learning a trade takes half the time. Instead of four years of university education, you take two years to learn a trade and two years to start making money. You can manage your earning potential at all times and grow your business at your own pace. If you have a hands-on trade, you can use it everywhere you go. You are your boss and you see to all affairs related to your business.

The merits of learning a trades to exceed that of going to school, why? Because the world is changing, gone are the days when going to school was everything, now it’s all about survival, how to make money and manage it on your own. 

The government has refused to provide jobs, even for those who have gone to universities and have degrees. Hence, people find it more reasonable to learn something new that they can use to make money. Getting government jobs is very difficult these days because it is always by ‘whom-you-know’, what if you don’t know anyone? 

That being said, it all boils down to an individual’s passion for whatever they wish to do. You can give someone all the merits of learning a trade in these dire times but they will still prefer to go to school because that is where their heart is and it is comprehensible. For some people, having a degree and not getting a job immediately still means something to them.

Instead of concluding that trade is better than school or vice versa, i would say that passion is what drives your need for success. Passion with a little bit of consideration on both sides. No one will be able to choose for you. Whatever your choice is, as long as you feel, you could maneuver your way into getting a well-paid job, a job you will be happy with, why not?

If you choose to learn a trade, be ready to become the best in your field. You can’t be the best with mediocrity. Hence, if you lack the passion for the skill, do not go in for it. With school, be ready for the debt, job search, and the pain of working under someone else. But hey, you wouldn’t necessarily have to be the best, at least not all the time.

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