Electrician and refrigerator mechanic Rod Peace. Picture: Evan Morgan
Electrician and refrigerator mechanic Rod Peace. Picture: Evan Morgan

The highest paid tradies revealed

TRADIES are raking in the big bucks and pocketing significantly more than the average Australian salary, new data reveals.

Based on average advertised salaries and the latest data by employment advertiser Seek, fridgies and aircon mechanics are at the top of the list as our highest paid tradies.

Van Erds Refrigeration apprentice Jamal Odo, 30, is only six months away from gaining his airconditioning and refrigeration mechanic qualification at TAFE Townsville.

He said there wasn't much advice about trades when he was in school, which left him taking a while to find his passion after graduating.

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"In all honesty, I didn't pick it - we kind of found each other," he said.

"I was labouring for the company I'm with now and fell into it but four years has gone really fast.

"I always wanted to do electrical and then realised there is so much more variety in my trade; we get to work with electrical, mechanical and a little bit of chemistry as well with the refrigerants and oils."

TAFE teacher Paul Donovan said he had witnessed an increase in students taking up the trade in Townsville and understood why it was attractive given its earning potential.

He said the training organisation currently had about 120 airconditioning and refrigeration mechanic apprentices.

"Newly qualified tradesmen could be earning anywhere from $70,000 and usually get a phone and car provided by the company so it's a good deal for a young person," he said. "A major advantage is you're earning while you learn and it's also a highly sought after and respected profession.

"They have to complete four years of on-the-job training and attend TAFE, a good understanding of mathematics is needed and there's a lot of study involved, especially with the electrical side."

Airconditioning and refrigeration mechanics were found to be Australia's richest tradespeople, earning $83,278 annually, closely followed by electricians on $82,782, and fitters, turners and machinists on $79,170.

Electrical and Air Cooling Solutions owner Rod Pearce is a qualified electrician and refrigeration mechanic with more than 30 years' experience.

He said despite it being listed as the highest paid trade in Australia, the industry had not seen any real salary increases in more than a decade.

"I don't think it's gone up or down - it's plateaued more than anything," he said.

"Ten years ago I was working for a company and I was earning $120,000, which was and still is a lot of money, but I worked my a*** off for it … if you want to earn the money you have to work hard."

Townsville currently has 117 trades jobs listed on Seek.


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