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  • Ethan Rogacion

The Best Postgraduate Degrees for Newly Laid Off Public Servants!


In the midst of the Government’s scything of the public service (separating the sandwich and meat-eating wheat from the woke, sushi-enjoying chaff) the University has done something actually relatively cool and agreeable!

Announced a few weeks ago, the University has begun offering a brand new Wellington Public Service Scholarship for Trimester Two. The goal of the scholarship is to support laid-off public servants that want to retrain and get a new, shiny graduate or postgraduate qualification. Composed of a fund of $250,000, the scholarship will be able to pay for the fees of two courses for about 50 students, according to Dr Logan Bannister, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students). 48 individuals have so far contacted the University to register interest.

“As Aotearoa New Zealand’s capital city university, we recognise the impact the changes to the public sector are having on our city as a whole and on the people who live here,” she added. “We are sympathetic to the challenges current public servants are facing in Wellington, and this scholarship is a way we can proactively support those who may be wanting to undertake further study as a result of the job losses.”

But this poses the question: what degrees should people use the scholarship on? The obvious move, I think, is to do a Master of Business Administration and pivot from a job in policy to a job in consulting—ending up back at the ministry you got laid off from, but getting paid way more. But why not spice it up and go for an even bigger career change? Well I’ve got some ideas!

Master of Artificial Intelligence

The page for this degree says that you can learn how to build AI tools that can “solve real-world problems across sectors like education, logistics, business, and the web.” Think about it! How can Chat GPT possibly come for your job when you’re the one telling Chat GPT how to come for other people's? Flawless.

Master of Physical Activity and Hauora

Maybe you can finally get out of the office and touch some grass. I personally like to imagine that at least a little bit of this degree involves doing a bit of Jump Jam. Isn’t that a fun thought?

Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary)

If you’ve had to deal with this government in any capacity, or have had to advise ministers, you’re honestly probably pretty well equipped to deal with a gaggle of screaming 8-year olds. It can’t be that different.

Master of Museum and Heritage Practice

Similarly, if you’ve ever walked through the New Zealand First offices and dealt with them in any professional capacity, you’ll probably be in a familiar environment.

Master of Science (Ecology and Biodiversity)

All I have to say is if you felt like you weren’t listened to during your time in the public service well… you’re gonna looove what academia has to offer you. People famously pay a lot of attention to the things climate scientists have to say!

Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Hey you! Do you like roads? Well I’ve heard we’ve got a lot more on the way and we need people to draw them and plan them, because someone’s put Simeon’s sketching supplies on top of a high shelf. Time to cut through some mountains and forests! Just make sure not to listen to your friend studying a Master of Science in the meantime.

Master of Public Policy

Okay listen… This might not make much intuitive sense, but neither has the decision to lay off over 4000 public service staff. Here’s my pitch: the Coalition are supposedly super into having a meritocracy. So, if you get really super smart and figure out what the hell public policy majors study, surely they’ll want you back, right? Right???


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