- This article is about the skilled manual worker meaning of the term; for other uses see Tradesperson (disambiguation)
A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman's status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both practical and theoretical knowledge of their trade. In cultures where professional careers are highly prized there can be a shortage of skilled manual workers, leading to lucrative niche markets in the trades.
The training of a trade in European cultures has been a formal tradition for many centuries. A tradesman typically begins as an apprentice, working for and learning from a Master, and after a number of years is released from his master's service as a Journeyman. After a Journeyman has proven himself to his trade's guild (most guilds are now known by different names), he may settle down as a Master and work for himself, eventually taking on his own apprentices.
Since the 20th Century, this process has been changed in many ways. A tradesman still begins as an apprentice, but the apprenticeship is carried out partly through working for a qualified tradesman and partly through an accredited trade school for a definite period of time (usually around 4 years), after which he/she is fully qualified. Starting one's own business is purely a financial matter, rather than being dependent on status. Few trades still make a distinction between a qualified tradesman and a master, although some still do.
While in some countries a recognised qualification is mandatory for an individual to register as a tradesmen or builder, in others it is not the case. This can lead to unscrupulous operators entering the market looking to take advantage of property owners. For this reason it is important for residents of countries like the Uk and Ireland to insist on qualifed tradesmen and not to take a qualification for granted. In the absence of a regulator in these markets a number of private companies have been set up to screen contractors and ensure that they are suitable for the their advertised services.
A Jack of all trades is a colloquial term for someone who holds some degree of skill/qualification in more than one trade, but has not made a continuous career of any one. In many cases, a trade has been largely eliminated by social or technological change, and skilled workers have found employment in similar trades (e.g. typesetters have become mostly obsolete due to electronic printing).
- Barber or Hairstylist
- Cement Mason
- Construction worker
- Cooper (profession)
- Heavy Equipment Operator
- Painter and decorator
- Tool and Die Maker
- Traditional trades
- Vocational education
tradesman in Norwegian: Handverker