Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said university-educated workers are key to Australia’s future and economic growth.
“Of the almost one million jobs expected to be created over the next five years, more than half will require a university degree,” Ms Jackson said.
“Keeping pace in an increasingly knowledge-intensive world is fundamental to our success as a nation.
“Australian universities have a vital role to play in addressing the nation’s skill shortages, ensuring businesses – big and small – have the workforce they need to fuel our economy, solve the challenges before us and embrace opportunities.”
To ensure Australia has the pipeline of workers that employers and the economy need to grow and prosper, now and in the future, Universities Australia is recommending:
- making it easier for people to retrain and upskill
- providing incentives for university, industry and research collaborations
- attracting and keeping international students and knowledge workers, and
- driving more investment in university-trained workers.
“We will use our seat at the summit table to emphasise the central role universities play in a sophisticated, modern economy,” Ms Jackson said.
“We will also share sensible solutions so that Australia has the pipeline of workers that employers and the economy need for the future.
“For example, we need to address the financial barriers to upskilling through short courses and microcredentials in the most critical areas of skills shortage by extending student loans to these courses.
“We also need to look carefully at how we encourage skilled international students to use their Australian education in Australia once they’ve completed their degree – especially if their skillset aligns with workforce needs.
“There have been a range of constructive ideas and solutions put forward by government, business and unions to meet the challenges before us.
“We look forward to working with these groups, at the summit and beyond, to help set the workforce up for the future.”
Universities Australia’s Skilling Australia for the future guide is available here.