The Department of Education and Skills has come under scrutiny for last year’s decision to hand The Block host Scotty Cam $345,000 to serve as National Careers Ambassador for Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system, after a department spokesperson today revealed he’s issued a grand total of four social media posts during his contract.
That’s $86,250 per post thus far, for those playing along at home.
In today’s Senate estimates hearing, Department Deputy Secretary Nadine Williams said Cam was contracted for “a range of activities to raise the profile of VET” among Aussie jobseekers.
Under pressure from Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who questioned if Cam had been enlisted purely for “celebrity endorsement” purposes, VET Reform First Assistant Matthew Hardy said the TV personality and qualified carpenter had appeared in a number of videos broadcast at job fairs and department events.
Hardy also recounted the four instances Cam had used his personal social media accounts to advocate for the program. He pointed to one post, issued on November 21, 2019, where Cam “posted to congratulate the Australian Training Award finalists.”
On the same day, Cam issued a separate Instagram post detailing his holiday in Japan.
It was also revealed that an ambassador web page has been established for Cam, but he has not yet responded to user submissions posted on that web hub. Like Facebook, but with more howling into the void.
Oh, then there’s the matter of the videos. As pointed out by The Guardian Australia, Cam has featured in two videos for the department since signing on. Collectively, they have just over 600 views.
Promoting VET is a big deal for the government, as the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showed a 3.3% drop in new apprenticeships in the June 2019 quarter compared to same period in 2018. The department states more plumbers, carpenters, and brickies are needed in most states.
“Anything that we can do that furthers to promote the status of vocational educational training, in a range of settings and audiences, is really critical for us as a country in this point in time,” said Education Department Secretary Michele Bruniges.
“Yes, well, I guess if you seek celebrity endorsement for VET, that’s essentially what the department wants to buy,” Pratt replied.
Cam will hold the role for a total of 15 months, so expect more content to come. But, for now, that seems like a bit of coin for not a huge amount of output.