SUBJECTS: Job-ready graduates
Ross Stevenson: Dan Tehan is the Minister for Education and he’s a Victorian member for Wannon. Minister, good morning to you.
Dan Tehan: Morning. How are you?
Stevenson: Good. Is this the thrust to increase fees for degrees that are not job-oriented?
Tehan: Look, what we want to do is make sure that students prioritise in those areas where we know the jobs would be. So, we know we need more teachers, we know we need more nurses, allied health professionals, engineers, people with IT skills. So, that’s why we want to incentivise students to look to study in those areas, because that’s where the jobs of the future are going to be.
Stevenson: But, if you’re looking for teachers, surely that’s where an arts degree is aimed, isn’t it?
Tehan: Well, what we would love to see is those people who are thinking of doing history, for instance, still do history, but doing it as part of a teaching degree, because then we know that you’re going to be able to teach history. There’ll be a job there for you. So, that’s what this is designed to do, to put that practical element to it. So, with the job market contracting, with the economy facing the biggest shock since the Great Depression, that, as we come out of this, we know we’re putting the skills into our students where the jobs are going to be.
Stevenson: So, I assume that that means that currently anyone who emerges from university with an arts degree is unemployable.
Tehan: No, that, that doesn’t mean that. I did an arts degree when I went to university, and, obviously, I was able to get a job as a result of that. But, we know that if you’re going to do an arts degree, if you do a unit with IT, if you do a unit with maths, if you do a unit or study a language throughout that arts degree, that’s going to make you more employable. And, that’s what we’re encouraging arts students to do, is to think about, in the mix of the courses, they get those skills where they’ll be able to ensure that they’re able to get a job, or have a very good CV which will enable them to put that very good case forward to get a job.
Stevenson: What was the job that you got with your arts degree?
Tehan: Well, I ended up at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and one of the lessons that I learned as a result of my experience, the thing that nearly prevented me from being a diplomat, was that I didn’t study a language at school or at university. And, looking back, I always wish that I had of studied a language at university, because it would have helped me be able to, to really put forward a case to get into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Now, fortunately, I studied overseas, so that, that made up for it.
Stevenson: I’m going to get my crystal ball out here, Minister, and I will tell you something about your life that you don’t think I know.
Stevenson: I think you did maths in Year 12.
Tehan: I did do maths in Year 12.
Stevenson: And, why do I know that, Minister?
Tehan: I’m not quite sure why.
Stevenson: Because, in order to do an arts degree, you had to either have maths or a language.
Tehan: Yes. Actually, you are very right, you are very right. And, as a result of me doing math in Year 12, that enabled me to do my arts degree. You’re very correct.
Stevenson: And, I did an arts degree along with law, because I did a language. I don’t quite understand why you had to have maths or a language to do an arts degree, but at one stage, you did. Minister, lovely to chat with you.
Tehan: Always, always good, and especially on a morning when Richmond have had a loss. It’s good to be talking about something else.
Stevenson: Ahh. Well, you’re talking to the wrong person in me, Minister.
Tehan: I know that. I know that. That’s something I know about you.
Stevenson: Minister for Education Dan Tehan.