The best technical jobs in the world aren’t necessarily the ones you’d expect, says University of Technology Sydney professor of mechanical engineering and automation Ross Crouch.
“Most of them are things you can’t do,” he says.
“The problem with these jobs is they’re really difficult to do, and it’s difficult to recruit people to do them, particularly when they’re at the bottom of the totem pole.”
“It’s a great time for young people to come into the industry and I think it’s really important that they have that opportunity to get their feet wet,” Mr Crouch says.
In some ways, the idea that students should do technical work for money is a fairly new idea.
It was first suggested by a former government minister in the 1980s, Dr Ian Macdonald, who argued that university students should not be paid for their technical work.
“If you want to get into technical science and engineering, you have to have some kind of university degree,” he said.
But a decade later, with the help of former prime minister Julia Gillard, Mr Macdonald was pushed to introduce a new law that allowed students to get a full-time degree and still be eligible for the full amount of student debt they owe on their studies.
That law has been in place since 2007, but Mr Crouches view is that students are in a better position than ever to get in the tech job market.
“I think we’re seeing a change in attitudes and attitudes of employers and of students and that’s why I think we should be encouraging them to apply,” he tells 7.30.
Mr Crouch is particularly concerned about the increasing cost of attending university, which he says is becoming more and more out of reach for young Australians.
“In the past, students who graduated from university could just keep their heads down, and get on with their lives,” he explains.
“But if you look at what’s happening now, it’s pretty clear that many young people are not getting that much out of their university education.”
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