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PM enlists Scott Cam to boost tradie ranks

Australia's two highest profile Scotts are joining forces to build the number of tradies, with Scott Morrison enlisting Scott Cam to get more young people on the tools.

The prime minister on Thursday announced the host of TV renovation show The Block will be Australia's first national careers ambassador.

The Gold Logie winner's role will be to highlight how practical and technical training can lead to high-paying jobs.

But the government is refusing to reveal how much taxpayer cash is being pumped into Cam's pocket, claiming his salary is "commercial in confidence".

Skills Minister Michaelia Cash said the appointment was about having one of the best-known people in Australia as a role model.

"We have entered into commercial terms with Mr Cam but ultimately this about shining a light on vocational education and training in Australia," she told reporters in Sydney.

She said 40 years ago, Cam understood the value of an apprenticeship.

But Cam revealed that at 17, his father told him he had to start work the following Monday with his carpenter brother.

The TV tradie says there's more career information available now than ever.

He's aiming to point people in the right direction through the "one-stop shop" at the National Careers Institute.

"I'm passionate about apprenticeships, trade life and trade work," Cam said.

Mr Morrison said university, which had become the default expectation for young people, wasn't the only path to success.

"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.

He said he wanted more people to have information about going into trades.

"Should they choose to go down this path, good for them, fantastic news - it's good for the Australian economy," Mr Morrison told reporters.

"If they want to make other choices, that's up to them."

Labor's education and training spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek is not rapt with the high profile hire.

"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 and start funding TAFE and apprentices," she said.

"Under the Liberals there's a national shortage of tradies, cuts to TAFE and training, and apprentice numbers have fallen off a cliff - Scott Morrison hiring a celebrity is not going to fix any of that."

Cam is a qualified carpenter who ran his own business before shooting to fame as he rode the juggernaut of TV home improvement shows.

© AAP 2019

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