The Block host recruited by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to address tradie shortage

Posted: 10th Oct

He’s used to tackling big projects, but Scott Cam’s latest gig might be his most ambitious yet.

The Block host has just been named as Australia’s first ever National Careers Ambassador, a role which will see him working with the government to encourage more young Australians to take up careers in the trades.

He has been recruited to show young people just how fulfilling — and highly paid — tradie jobs can be, and will work with the government, the National Careers Institute, industry, education providers, career advisers, parents and employers to spread the message.

The move comes amid Australia’s widely publicised skilled tradie shortage — but soon after the initiative was announced, a brutal online reaction began.

Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Plibersek questioned the role of “celebrities” in addressing the tradie shortage.

“Scott Cam’s a good bloke, but if the Liberals were serious about fixing the skills crisis they’ve created, they’d stop hiring celebrities + start funding TAFE and apprentices” she tweeted earlier today.

But others were less polite, with many branding Mr Cam’s appointment a “joke”.

Many also questioned why the government decided to create this paid role for an already-wealthy celebrity, when public funding was sorely needed for vocational education and training.

The new initiative was launched earlier today, with Mr Cam fronting the media alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash.

In a statement, Mr Morrison said the country was crying out for more Aussies with technical, trade and practical skills.

“For many years going to university has been the default expectation imposed on our young Australians, but it’s not the only path to rewarding and successful employment,” he said.

“It’s time we broadened our view and recognised the many other successful avenues available to young Australians and talked about the opportunities in fast growing industries like health and construction through technical and skills education.

“I want to see more Australians become plumbers, electricians and bakers than lawyers and consultants. I would like to see more of them going on to become their own boss.”

He said the popular TV host was living “proof” a career in the trades could be a lucrative one.

“In my own electorate in southern Sydney, there are numerous stories of Australians who have been able to look after themselves, their families and make a real contribution, often starting their own businesses and creating jobs and livelihoods for others,” he said.

“By learning a trade you’ll earn more, your skills will be in demand and you’ll help build our country and keep our economy strong.”

Ms Cash said the Coalition planned to create more than 1.25 million jobs over the next five years, and to roll out a $100 billion infrastructure investment.

“To take advantage of this, we will need to make sure people and businesses have access to the right skills at the right time, and understand how their skills relate to current and emerging career pathways,” she said.

“As National Careers Ambassador, Scott will help Australians at all ages and stages to make informed decisions about learning, training and work pathways.

“Working with the National Careers Institute, Scott will make sure individuals and businesses can take advantage of the pathways on offer.”

The government is also in the middle of a “major modernisation” of the vocational education and training sector, with a $585 million skills package now underway, including increased incentives for up to 80,000 new apprentices and expanded apprentice wage subsidy trials in rural and regional areas and 10 new Industry Training Hubs in areas of high youth unemployment to better connect schools with local employers, industries and training providers.

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