Vigorous debate declared to be draw

The audience waits as student debater John Brinsley-Pirie considers his response as he argues against the notion "students today have never had better career prospects". Photos by Linda Robertson.
The audience waits as student debater John Brinsley-Pirie considers his response as he argues against the notion "students today have never had better career prospects". Photos by Linda Robertson.
University of Otago students admitted they sounded like ''team whinge'' at a debate last night, but some were starting to question their English literature, French and gender studies majors.

In fact, three debaters became extremely negative as they considered their job prospects post-degree.

Fortunately, their pessimism at the Moot Court at the university was countered by a team from local government and business quite sure the debating point ''students today have never had better career prospects'' was right on the money.

The ''great debate'' was part of the Otago Careers Festival, and gave debate chairman Mayor Dave Cull some evening activity after a full day's intellectual workout at the city's annual plan meeting.

Team members Grace Jansen (left) and Joe Ascroft (centre) look on.
Team members Grace Jansen (left) and Joe Ascroft (centre) look on.
Despite his role in the middle, he stepped in at times to counter some of the students' concerns.

Students John Brinsley-Pirie, Grace Jansen and Joe Ascroft argued things were not as they were 50 years ago, when, they claimed, a young graduate could step from the campus to the workplace and begin a career.

Nowadays, their degrees put them on the same footing as thousands of others searching for few jobs, despite university advertising slogans.

But Calder Stewart general manager Darren Evans, AbacusBio consultant Anna Campbell and city councillor Aaron Hawkins responded the skills they learned in their studies were more useful than they thought.

That, along with hard graft at whatever position they found after university, would give them an edge in a world of change and opportunity.

Despite regular input that appeared strongly to favour the positive side of the debate, Mr Cull judged the event a draw.

 

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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