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So, What's the Top Earning UK Careers? You Might Be Surprised

03/02/2015 12:13 GMT | Updated 04/04/2015 10:59 BST

In the current economic climate it's so important to think about the nature of our work. More and more people are thinking about doing work that really matters.

I've been looking more and more closely at craft, production & the future of work since reading the always fantastic Art Of Manliness.

This author here makes a clear point -that blue collar jobs are in fact what some young men ought to aspire to; just like they aspire to be a journalist, lawyer or banker. It does not try to convince that blue collar jobs are better (though in some cases they will be, just as in some cases white collar jobs will be better), but that they are simply on par with office jobs by nearly every measurable factor in terms of what makes a career a "good" one.

It's cheaper to learn a "trade", the skills can't be outsourced (which makes the job more secure), and it's satisfying too.

There is a satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from manual work that simply cannot be achieved in any other setting ~ The Art Of Manliness

And UK-wide research revealed this week also makes it clear that there's a great earning potential behind certain skilled carer choices too.

According to new research commissioned by the Edge Foundation to mark the opening of nominations for the 2015 VQ Awards, teens miscalculated actual earnings by up to 38 per cent.

In 2014, the sector with the highest annual earnings was electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply. Only one in six teenagers guessed it was even in the top three. What's more, they thought average earnings would be around £23,000 - nearly £15,000 below the true median figure of £37,922.

Electricians, for example, earn an average of £29,000 per year which is nearly 25 per cent more than the national average wage.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly one in five teenagers think they could earn big money in arts, entertainment and recreation. In fact, it's among the worst paid sectors, with average full-time earnings of £21,603 in 2014.

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Image c/o VQ Day

Young people's parents don't fare much better. Whilst some mums and dads correctly identified four out of five of the best-paid sectors, 93 per cent failed to recognise that mining and quarrying where the median full-time salary - £37,539 - ranks third in the UK.

Parents also underestimate actual earnings, guessing that people working in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply earn an average of £24,400 - over a third below the true figure.

"A skilled workforce is essential to the UK economy and high quality vocational routes need to be encouraged - not just for the personal fulfilment they bring but also the lucrative financial opportunities they offer. Electricians are just one example of skilled workers whose high earning potential and contribution to the economy go unrecognised. With 70,000 new openings projected in the next 10 years, careers such as these need to be valued equally with those achieved through traditional academic routes" ~ Jan Hodges OBE, CEO of the Edge Foundation

Taking place on 10th June 2015, the eighth annual VQ Day will celebrate vocational achievement, aiming to raise the status of vocational qualifications alongside academic paths. There's a chance for everyone to get involved and nominate the best for awards too on the website www.vqday.org.uk.

The nomination process is simple and the deadline for all nominations is 1st May. All nomination forms for all awards and all nations can be found at: www.vqday.org.uk/vq-awards