A master qualification for tradespeople is not a new concept. In certain parts of Europe, experienced tradespeople who excel in their field are able to access education and pathways to elevate their status. They are treated in the same way as those who receive doctorates (Ferguson 2006), and also have important status in the international community. This paper advances the proposition that the absence of equivalent educational pathways and career development opportunities for Australian tradespeople assists to reinforce negative social perceptions of manual occupations — perceptions that are now arguably reflected by serious skill shortages. Trades skill shortages have made vocational education stakeholders look at the reasons why young people may not find traditional trades occupations attractive career options. In the age of the technological revolution, what incentive is there for any parent to encourage their child to pursue a career often believed to be ‘dirty, dangerous and demeaning’? This paper investigates the potential for introducing master-level qualifications for tradespeople in Australia as a means of improving the status of tradespeople and strengthening trade identity.